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Marcia Vera Espinoza in Radio JGM

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On August 16, Marcia Vera Espinoza, MIGPROSP Post-doctoral Research Associate, was invited by the hosts of the radio show “Chile a todo color” to talk about migration trends and policies, in Chile and South America. Watch the full interview below (in Spanish).

Migration Governance in South America: Where is the region heading?

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By Marcia Vera-Espinoza, Leiza Brumat and Andrew Geddes

Migration governance in South America seems to be in transition. Following recent interviews with key actors in in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Ecuador as part of the MIGPROSP project we identify three tendencies in migration policy: ‘retreat’, ‘inertia’ and ‘change’. Together, these tendencies suggest that policy development and change in South America is unlikely to take the form of a unidirectional ‘tide’ be it liberal or illiberal, but will rather be non-linear and dependent on domestic conditions of governance and governability that shape how rhetorical commitments ‘hit the ground’. These conditions can include the state of the economy, but also other critical factors such as changes of government and political will. Read More

“Safe return review” refugee policy: counter-productive and morally indefensible

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Exploring the government’s new refugee policy, Marcia Vera Espinoza, Clara Sandelind, and Brid Ni Ghráinne argue that the process could prove to be damaging in multiple ways, all while not benefitting anyone. They conclude that it will be difficult to enforce, it will erode social cohesion, and will render the processes of integration meaningless.

Opposition has quickly risen against the government’s “safe return review” policy. This new policy means that after five years in the UK, the situation in a refugee’s country of origin will be reviewed and if it is deemed to be “safe”, the UK will seek to return the individual rather than offer them permanent settlement. The previous process, in place since 2005, was a straightforward process that granted settlement when a refugee applied after an initial five years leave granted by their refugee status. Reviews were carried only in exceptional circumstances. The latest policy by the Home Office of actively reviewing all individual cases after 5 years puts in question the UK’s commitment to refugee protection by changing the approach from durable to temporary solutions.

From a legal point of view, the 1951 Refugee Convention permits the cessation of refugee status where it is safe for the individual to return to his country of nationality. In other words, the review policy is not in itself a breach of refugee law. But it is only in very limited circumstances that returns would be lawful. Before removing an individual, states must engage in a thorough analysis of the conditions in the country of nationality. Changes in the circumstances need to be fundamental, such as an end to hostilities, a complete political change, and return to a situation of peace and stability. Such changes also need to be given time to consolidate before any decision on cessation is made. The individual must also be able to re-avail himself of the protection of his country which encompasses physical security and safety, a functioning government, a functioning system of law and justice, and human rights protections. Read More

CONFERENCE “THE DYNAMICS OF REGIONAL MIGRATION GOVERNANCE”

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The conference “The Dynamics of Regional Migration Governance” was held on Thursday the 25th and Friday 26th May 2017, at the European University Institute, in Florence. The two-day event, organised by Andrew Geddes, welcomed 29 papers from around the world for analysing and discussing the present and future of migration governance in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

Presenters and attendees debated on the drivers of migration, free movement of workers, shifting political paradigms in migration policies, and asylum seekers and securitisation, amongst other topics. The full program, presenters’ bios and abstracts, can be found here.

More information about the conference’s outputs will be posted soon on the conference’s page.

MIGPROSP PhD researchers’ thoughts ahead of The Dynamics of Regional Migration Governance conference

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By Laura Foley and Andrea Pettrachin

As the two newest recruits to the MIGPROSP project, this is our first conference as part of the team and we are really looking forward to it. The programme for the conference, available here, is packed full of interesting papers and speakers and will make for two days of stimulating discussion. On the eve of the conference, we reflect what we are most excited about for the conference.

Laura: As part of the MIGPROSP project, my research analyses the governance of low-skilled labour migration in Southeast Asia so there are a number of speakers that I look forward to hearing, especially the opening panel on May 25th which includes Nicola Piper and Sandra Lavenex’s paper Regional migration governance in Asia: perspectives ‘from above’ and from below’. In the paper, they contrast the dissociation between formal highly selective mobility norms, which tend to reflect government’s preference for temporary movements of highly skilled professionals, with informal governance “from below” consisting of the “bottom up” mobilisation of civil society actors. In the paper, they seek to identify the venues through which these two largely dissociated processes may be brought closer to another.

On May 26th I am similarly looking forward to hearing Stefan Rother’s paper The uneven migration governance of ASEAN where he explores the uneven governance response to labour migration in Southeast Asia, notably the ‘glaring governance deficit’ of lower-skilled migration. Rother’s contribution will analyse how the governance deficit is addressed by the vibrant civil society in the region who provide ‘migration governance from below’. This is of particular interest as civil society organisations in Southeast Asia are some of the actors that will be included in my research. Read More

MIGPROSP TEAM MEMBER IN CHILE

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Diego Acosta (MIGPROSP co-investigator) visited Chile between March 17 and 25 for presenting his research on comparative migration law in South America to a number of audiences including the Universiy of Chile, the Catholic University, the Alberto Hurtado University and the Jesuit Service for Migrants. He also had various meetings with government officials, international organizations and NGOs for discussing the new project for a migration law in the country. His presentation at the University of Chile is available on youtube here.

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION WITH DR MARTIN RUHS

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On Thursday 22, we held a roundtable discussion with Dr Martin Ruhs, associated professor in Political Economy at Oxford University as our keynote speaker. Dr Ruhs presented his paper “Labour immigration policies in high-income countries: Variations across political regimes and varieties of capitalism”, followed by a discussion of the paper by Dr Genevieve LeBaron, Senior Lecturer in Politics, which triggered a stimulating dialogue with a multidisciplinary audience from Sociological Studies, Urban Studies and Planning, Politics, and members of the civil society.

Dr Ruhs’s talk was preceded by a presentation by members of the MIGPROSP team. Prof Andrew Geddes introduced the MIGPROSP project, highlighting the changing and dynamic character of international migration as a research topic. Dr Marcia Vera offered an overview of the most recent findings about migration governance in South America, and our MIGPROSP doctoral students Luca Lixi, Laura Foley, and Andrea Pettrachin, presented their PhD research.

Thanks very much to those who made it yesterday.

The Dutch aren’t turning against immigration – the salience of the immigration issue is what drives Wilders’ support

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by James Dennison, Andrew Geddes, and Teresa Talò

The key story in the 2017 Dutch election campaign so far has been the high levels of support for Geert Wilders’ PVV in opinion polls. But what explains the PVV’s ability to attract voters? James Dennison, Andrew Geddes and Teresa Talò write that although Wilders’ success is frequently linked to hardening views on immigration, attitudes toward immigration in the Netherlands have actually remained fairly stable. The real root of the PVV’s support lies in the salience of the immigration issue itself, partially heightened by media coverage of recent increases in the numbers of migrants entering the country.

2017 has been widely billed as a year of potentially momentous elections across Europe, including in Germany, France and, on 15 March, in the Netherlands. Some commentators have speculated about a domino effect that would see mainstream governments fall as part of a pan-Western backlash against globalisation and high levels of immigration following the British EU referendum and American presidential election of 2016. At first glance, the Dutch election supports this interpretation: polls suggest that the anti-immigration PVV – led by Geert Wilders – may win the most seats of any party in the House of Representatives. If Wilders’ party comes first, should we interpret the result as another example of surging public demand for an end to immigration? Or are such election results less indicative of a radical change in public attitudes than has thus far been assumed? Read More

SOLD

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On March 07th, 2017, MIGPROSP PhD Researcher Michaela Bruckmayer was invited by Childreach International to participate in a panel discussion on child victims of human trafficking. The discussion was preceded by a showing of the film SOLD, which features the harrowing story of 13-year-old Lakshmi who is trafficked from Nepal to India and forced into prostitution. The film is based on a novel by Patricia McCormick and is shown at 12 different locations in the UK in order to raise awareness of Childreach International’s #thaughtnottrafficked campaign. The objective of the campaign is to prevent children from becoming victims of human trafficking by encouraging them to complete their education. Michaela contributed to the discussion with her expertise in children and migration, including trafficking, and her understandings of the governance of particularly vulnerable migrants.