The irregular immigration policy conundrum

Problematizing ‘effectiveness’ as a frame for EU criminalization and expulsion policies

Authored by: Sergio Carrera , Jennifer Allsopp

The Routledge Handbook of Justice and Home Affairs Research

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138183759
eBook ISBN: 9781315645629
Adobe ISBN:


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One of the priorities identified by EU policies in response to the 2015/2016 ‘refugee crisis’ was the need to increase the effectiveness of EU irregular immigration policies, in particular increasing the enforcement rate of expulsions of irregular immigrants. The anti-smuggling and expulsion-driven rationale that guides current policies is symptomatic of a deeper dilemma which has characterized ‘Europeanization’ dynamics over the past three decades (Guiraudon 2000; Block and Bonjour 2013; Bonjour and Vink 2014). Since the first steps, European integration processes have displayed an ambivalent relationship with the mobility of non-EU nationals. This has been particularly the case in relation to those who are not deemed ‘useful’ to the labor market or in need of international protection, and thus fall within the elusive label of irregular immigrants (Guild 2004). The materialization of freedom of movement for EU citizens and the abolition of internal border controls under the Schengen system have been key drivers of the increasing involvement of the EU in migration management and in the co-creation of ‘irregularity’. Schengen has developed multi-functional frontiers (Anderson 1996) between those individuals who can travel lawfully and those who cannot.

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