25 Oct 2013

The Criminalisation of Migration in Europe: A State-of-the-Art of the Academic Literature and Research

Joanna Parkin

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In the last 30 years, a clear trend has come to define modern immigration law and policy. A set of seemingly disparate developments concerning the constant reinforcement of border controls, tightening of conditions of entry, expanding capacities for detention and deportation and the proliferation of criminal sanctions for migration offences, accompanied by an anxiety on the part of the press, public and political establishment regarding migrant criminality can now be seen to form a definitive shift in the European Union towards the so-called ‘criminalisation of migration’.

This paper aims to provide an overview of the ‘state-of-the-art’ in the academic literature and EU research on criminalisation of migration in Europe. It analyses three key manifestations of the so-called ‘crimmigration’ trend: discursive criminalisation; the use of criminal law for migration management; and immigrant detention, focusing both on developments in domestic legislation of EU member states but also the increasing conflation of mobility, crime and security which has accompanied EU integration. By identifying the trends, synergies and gaps in the scholarly approaches dealing with the criminalisation of migration, the paper seeks to provide a framework for on-going research under Work Package 8 of the FIDUCIA project.

Joanna Parkin is a Researcher in the Justice and Home Affairs Section of the Centre for European Policy Studies.