The project examined the ways in which European Union policies aimed at countering the phenomenon of migrant smuggling affect civil society actors’ activities in the provision of humanitarian assistance, access to rights to irregular immigrants and asylum seekers and in monitoring fundamental rights compliance. It explores the effects of EU policies, laws and agencies’ operations in anti-migrant smuggling actions and their implementation in the following EU Member States: Italy, Greece, Hungary and the UK. Particular attention has been paid to policies designed and put into practice in the context of the so-called ‘European refugee humanitarian crisis’ emerging in 2015.
The project results show that the effects of EU and national policies which criminalize the facilitation of entry and residence of irregular immigrants extend beyond cases where civil society actors have faced actual prosecutions, criminal convictions or administrative penalties when assisting irregular immigrants and asylum seekers. We used the notion ‘policing the mobility society’ to capture the wider set of punitive and restrictive dynamics which result directive or indirectly from anti-smuggling policies and which affect the work of civil society actors, especially those monitoring migration policies and politically mobilizing for the rights and liberties of immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees.