The ever-rising securitisation of mixed migration


"Over the last decade there has been a surge in the securitisation of different aspects of migration, especially in relation to mixed flows, including refugees, using irregular pathways. This essay outlines what securitised and criminalised mixed migration looks like and how security concerns are used to justify and normalise what were previously exceptional policies and practices around the world. It will also explore how these trends might change in the future."

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See: The ever-rising securitisation of mixed migration (Mixed Migration Centre, link)

"Increasingly, countries will need additional migrant workers, but such labour demand may be at odds with electorates’ intolerance for higher volumes of migrants or refugees and the continued securitisation of mobility. As one analyst wrote more than 12 years ago:

“How then do states regulate migration in the face of economic forces that push them toward greater openness, while security concerns and powerful political forces push them toward closure? States are trapped in a ‘liberal’ paradox — in order to maintain a competitive advantage, governments must keep their economies and societies open to trade, investment, and migration. But unlike goods, capital, and services, the movement of people involves greater political risks.”[53]

These are risks many governments are currently unwilling to take, and future expected pressures suggest they will be even less willing to take them in the medium term.

The history of migration and the numbers of people potentially involved suggest that future migration and refugee issues can be managed through international cooperation given enough political will. Yet, enforced by significant sociocultural intransigence, current political will seems firmly directed towards the continued securitisation of migration. So the key question is: to what extent can this be rolled back and an alternative approach adopted to avoid negative and self-reinforcing outcomes?"

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