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ICMA 2014_Panel 3_ Laura Zanfrini and Fabio Baggio


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The International Conference on Migration in Africa (ICMA) hosted by the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) and the Institute for Social Development at UWC, on 3 December 2014 brought together local, African and international scholars, academics, researchers, practitioners, professionals, policy makers and NGO representatives and funding bodies to discuss issues relating to human mobility in Africa. The topics included south-south migration, the nexus between migration and development, irregular migration and reintegration of returnee migrants.

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ICMA 2014_Panel 3_ Laura Zanfrini and Fabio Baggio

  1. 1. Irregular Migration SIHMA Conference December 3, 2014 Laura ZANFRINI Università Cattolica di Milano Fondazione ISMU, Milan
  2. 2. Irregular Migration (IM) It is a movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries From the perspective of receiving country: Entry, stay or work in the country without the necessary authorization or documents required under immigration rules From the perspective of sending country: Leaving the country without a valid passport or travel documents or without fulfilling the administrative requirements
  3. 3. The Issue of Borders Borders = human “invention”, introduced only recently in human history Borders’ defense = one of the last symbols of the State sovereignty Particularly after 2011, IM connected with security issues = reinforcement and externalization of borders Both in Europe and US: restrictive immigration policies and borders’ enforcement = growth of IM Borders and “mixed flows” = difficult to distinguish among asylum seekers, people in need of protection and migrant not in need of protection
  4. 4. Few Emblematic Examples CIS countries: IM resulting from new borders of the States Some African countries: IM from imposition of artificial borders by colonial powers In many Latin and Central American countries: increase of African and Asian IMs mainly due to US restrictive policies EU: admission of new countries and millions of IMs transformed in regular migrants Pacific Islands: offshore camps for IMs (“Pacific solution”)
  5. 5. Political Construction of IM The regular/irregular status = not a permanent attribute, but a temporary situation IM status = result of political construction (definition of the borders + conditions for entry) IM status can vary over the course of the migration experience for different causes IM opens a debate on the ethical (or non ethical) foundations of its definition and the “right to migrate” Consequence of the implementation of immigration policies stating conditions for entry
  6. 6. Causes of IM Unequal development, structural changes (globalisation) and strong social inequalities Lack of labor and livelihood opportunities, education and efficient welfare system Threats to personal security: conflicts, political instability and environmental/climate changes Disproportion between no. of candidates and no. of regular migrants set by receiving countries Inconsistency between entry requirements and needs of the local economy in receiving countries High costs and long waiting time of regular channels Restrictive rules concerning family reunions
  7. 7. Causes of IM The huge “Migration Industry” Introduction of free-visa entry and free circulation spaces with no right to stay and work Demand for cheap labor in destination countries, growing flexibility and precariousness of employment relations, “parallel welfare systems”, presence of employers of same ethnic background Strong ethnic and social networks favoring the arrival and the stay of irregular co-nationals Misleading advocacy of some actors and organization resulting in reinforcing the culture of irregular migration
  8. 8. Who Gains from IM? Smugglers and traffickers + mediators and fixers Sending countries governments (remittances) Corrupted public officials Employers, and large outsourcing corporations Private households who employ low-paid domestic workers Consumers who purchase goods produced under exploitative work conditions Owners and clients of the sex industry Actors managing the informal remitting channels
  9. 9. Who Loses from IM? Victims of human trafficking All IMs (rights abuse and no possibility to go home) Left behind families (no possibility of family reunification) The host country fiscal system (no contributions from IMs) Local and regular migrant workers, (social dumping and deterioration of labor standards) Honest employers (unfair competition by employers of IMs) Hosting society cohesion (negative perception of IMs)
  10. 10. The Social Perception of IMs Criminals who keep at risk national sovereignty, public order and collective security, cause social dumping phenomena and feed the criminal economy  expulsion, deportation, detention, punishment Victims of trafficking organizations, who suffer conditions of exploitation and slavery  policies of assistance and protection Free actors who deliberately chose to violate an illegitimate international order  access to rights, regularization, reform of migration policies
  11. 11. EU Unresolved Paradoxes European history: tensions between declared policy goals and evolution of migration processes, attempting to bridge opposite intents: Limitation of new entries vs. integration of resident migrants Liberal logic of open markets vs. fear for “migrants’ invasion” Protection of the European traditional identity vs. enhancement of mobility and diversity Institutional discrimination against non-EU migrants vs. protection of fundamental human rights, regardless of nationality and status Restrictive admission policies vs. a deregulation of the labor market and tolerance towards underground economy Defense of local communities from migrants vs. defense of migrants
  12. 12. EU Unresolved Paradoxes In the EU government of IM, there are some clear tendencies: To renounce to some basic juridical principles in order to limit “unwanted migration” To represent borders management as a technocratic task, neglecting its ethical implications To devote enormous resources to fight irregular migration, (with little results) and little resource to support social integration projects To submit the process of comunitarisation to the logic of securitization and distribution of the burden of border control To bound international cooperation to sending countries’ cooperation in migration control (retention and repatriation)
  13. 13. A Decalogue of Priorities 1. Promote the “right not to migrate”, making migration a real option and combat the “irresponsibility” of sending countries (emigration vs. development policies) 2. Eradicate the culture of (irregular) migration with specific awareness raising initiatives (individuals and families) 3. Combat the improper use of entry and regularization policies, particularly those tending to extend the protection for humanitarian reasons to “fake” asylum seekers 4. Introduce regular migration schemes aiming at satisfying the real demands of the receiving countries’ markets 5. Reinforce incentives for families who regularly employ migrants; contrast the social acceptance of migrant irregular employment within the households
  14. 14. A Decalogue of Priorities 6. Apply stronger sanctions to employers of IMs and improve the overall labor market management 7. Question the characteristics, functioning and role of detention centers, looking for alternative solutions 8. Develop the cooperation among civil society organizations and religious groups of the receiving and the sending countries, in order to provide valid alternative to irregular migration and enhance the use of regular migration channels 9. Promote the dialogue between sending, transit and receiving countries in order to enhance the harmonization of migration laws and policies 10. Promote at all governance levels and among all actors the awareness of the basic principle of human dignity