EASA2012: Uncertainty and disquiet

Nanterre University, France, 10/07/2012 – 13/07/2012

(W086)

Deportation, justice and anxiety (EN)

Location V311
Date and Start Time 11 Jul, 2012 at 11:30

Convenors

Heike Drotbohm (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) email
Ines Hasselberg (University of Minho) email
Christin Achermann (University of Neuchâtel) email
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Short Abstract

As a form of expulsion regulating human mobility, deportation is a practice of state power embedded in anxiety, uncertainty, fear and unrest that elicit different perceptions of (un)justice. We call for contributions covering the matter from different geographical sites, angles and perspectives.

Long Abstract

As a form of expulsion regulating human mobility, deportation is a practice of state power embedded in anxiety, uncertainty, fear and unrest that elicit different perceptions of (un)justice. Recent academic work has contributed to a contextualized understanding of the practice of deportation, the 'production' of deportability, and how both are experienced. If deportation policies may be justified by public authorities as measures responding to anxieties over (unregulated) migration, they also bring out uncertainty and unrest to deportable/deported migrants and their families. This panel takes EASA's 2012 conference-theme to call for ethnographies approaching this issue from different geographical sites (contributions examining expulsion by 'non-western' states are particularly welcomed), angles (detention, surveillance, sending/returning countries, tribunals, public policy), and perspectives (government, public-opinion, deportees, activists). We call for contributions covering the matter from a multitude of starting points: What are the historical roots and contemporary continuities of expulsion in national contexts? What are the social logics of detention and 'justice' within multicultural societies? How is deportation reflected in public opinion? What impact deportability and deportation may bear in one's sense of belonging and entitlement? What is the situation and mode of integration of deportees within their family networks, and alleged 'home' communities? How do people cope with and react to the threat of deportation and resulting uncertain future? What are the perceptions of the actors involved in enforcing deportation, e.g. staff of detention centers? What are the experiences of 'untypical deportees' as deported women or minors, and those left behind in the 'host' country?

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Deportation and deportees: state policies and migrant experiences: a case study of Zimbabwean migrants in Botswana

Author: Treasa Galvin (University of Botswana)  email
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Short Abstract

Based on fieldwork among Zimbabwean migrants in Botswana this paper considers deportation as involving sets of tensions, anxieties, strategies and risks that arise from the rational behind state policies on migration and the expereinces of individual migrants

Long Abstract

Over the past decade Zimbabweans nationals have migrated to neighbouring countries within the Southern African region in particular to South Africa and Botswana. In response to this migratory movement the Government of Botswana has and continues to deport significant numbers of Zimbabweans on a regular basis. Based on ethnographic fieldwork among Zimbabweans who have been deported from Botswana, this paper examines the deportation of migrants as a process that involves the rational for deportation on the part of the state and the experience of migrants before, during and after deportation. In particular the deportation of Zimbabwean migrants from Botswana is treated here as a process whose key characteristics are tensions, anxieties, strategies and risks.

At the outset this paper outlines the manner in which the deportation of Zimbabwean migrants is inherently linked to the tensions and anxieties that surround the issue of migration in Botswana society. The paper then examines the specific fears and anxieties experienced by migrants at risk of deportation on a daily basis. The paper then considers the process of deportation in Botswana, the manner in which it has changed over time and the risks and anxieties that arise for migrants as a consequence of the practical reality of the deportation process. Finally, this paper examines the range of issues that emerge for migrants after they have been deported, the risks associated with their strategies to deal with the aftermath of deportation and its consequences for their livelihoods as migrants.

The moral economy of deportation in Israel: how the anxiety of the nation translates into the anxiety of the deportable subject

Author: Barak Kalir (University of Amsterdam)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper tries to shed light on the legal and social location of asylum seekers from Eritrea and the Sudan in Israel, by looking at the ways in which their position is being framed by different parties, deploying competing discourses of human rights, citizenship, security and sovereignty.

Long Abstract

The polemic claim that the paper advances is that an appeal - mostly made by critical NGOs, journalists and academics -- to human rights and humanitarian morals that are rooted in the Jewish history of refugeeness and ethnic cleansing is counterproductive in face of the attempts by the Israeli government to deport 'infiltrators' in order to protect the Jewish state. The counterproductiveness of an appeal to Jewish morals and historic sensitivities results from a hegemonic ideology of fearism (Fisher 2005) that marks the national narrative and informs the notion of citizenship among Jewish Israelis. This ideology of fearism leads Jews in Israel to construct and view non-Jewish asylum-seekers as the Other, who poses a threat to their own right for secured citizenship that is guarded by an uncastrated Jewish state.

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The deportation grid: an analysis of the politics and experience of deportation in contemporary Ireland

Author: Fiona Murphy (Queens University Belfast )  email
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Short Abstract

This paper will examine the often conflictual interface between constructions of deportation through anti-deportation campaigns and the media and the actual experience of those working in deportation spaces in an Irish context

Long Abstract

On October 6th 2010, a Coalition of Organizations working on behalf of Ireland's migrant communities gathered outside the Irish Parliament to protest against the most recent draft of the Immigration, Residence, and Protection Bill. With a number of the Bill's points in contention, one of the main issues was the possible introduction of 'Summary Deportation,' a system which meant that those at risk of deportation would have diminished capacity to protect themselves from a quick, unchallenged deportation. Alongside growing acrimony towards the migrant population in a bleak economic climate, the protest outside the Irish Parliament firmly re-anchored the issue of 'deportation' within broader societal anxieties about undocumented migrants and 'asylum seekers.' This paper will examine the often conflictual interface between constructions of deportation through anti-deportation campaigns and the media and the actual experience of those working in deportation spaces (such as immigration police and those working in detention centres) in an Irish context. This analysis will lead to an unpacking of what Cohen (2006) has called, 'the Orwellian world of immigration controls' as well as the 'bare life' (Agamben 1998) of the deportable body, thus revealing broader theoretical and experiential understandings of notions of risk and anxiety as they are grounded within the deportation regime. This paper therefore asks how deportation as a State strategy and a global regime insinuates its presence in the lives of migrants (undocumented or otherwise), Immigration officers, and finally, members of the host society involved in anti-deportation campaigns.

"Claro, cómo ya está la mesa servida, ahora sí ya no nos necesitan ¿verdad?" Indignation and fear amongst undocumented immigrants facing anti-immigrant laws in the Southeastern United States

Author: Gwendolyn Ferreti (University of Texas at Austin)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper examines state law hb56 as part of a paradigm shift in regional immigration enforcement in the US, and the community response in the face of near-total expulsion

Long Abstract

The State of Alabama has recently passed and implemented what has been called a "draconian" state immigration law, hailed by both proponents as the harshest anti-immigrant law in the country. Authors of the law purport that its purpose as: "attrition via enforcement," a new philosophy to deportation whereby the undocumented immigrant is pushed, through policy that criminalizes her existence within state boundaries, denies her access to work and negates access to basic necessities such as public utilities, education and housing, to effectively deport herself or encounter ever more ubiquitous state-sponsored deportations based on the "reasonable suspicion" of lack of status. As consequence, undocumented immigrants today incorporate the threat of deportation into their everyday lives, articulating a fear that routine, mundane actions may lead to deportation. Based on ethnographic research during the proposal, passing, and implementation of this law, this paper will explore how undocumented Latin American immigrants have reacted, choosing to flee to other states or back to their home countries or stay and reiterate their sense of belonging within Alabama by engaging in new forms of grassroots activism, relying on already established mixed status social networks, and holding out to see what comes with both fear and indignation. This paper will argue this law represents a fundamental shift in the state's approach to deportation from one of punitive control to one of total expulsion of a targeted community based on emergent concepts of borders and security, as well as examining new forms of organization and resistance by those affected.

Those who may be left behind: facing the uncertainties of immigration detention, incarceration, and the potential deportation of a family member

Author: Carolina Boe (AAU, Denmark)  email
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Short Abstract

This contribution analyzes the experiences of non-citizens detained in French and US penal institutions and immigration detention centers, and of their families, as they try to master the uncertainties related with deportation, both individually and collectively.

Long Abstract

For the past thirty years, many states such as France or the United States of America have passed laws that have increasingly penalized offenses related to migrant illegality, and have expanded the uses of immigration detention and deportation. Furthermore, more and more immigrants who formerly held legal statuses have become illegalized, as a result of changing laws and as a consequence of a criminal conviction or of changes in their situation, such as losing their job, their home, or getting a divorce. These processes of production of illegality and deportability of former resident non-citizens have had a major impact on the lives of numerous citizens, notably within their families.

This contribution draws on ethnographic fieldwork and biographical interviews carried out over a period of five years with non-citizens facing deportation who are, or who have been detained, in French and US penal institutions and immigration detention centers, as well as with their families and members of their communities. It describes the experiences of spouses, children and other family members of deportees as they have had to re-organize their lives in the prospect of the detention, incarceration, and the risk of a possible future deportation of a family member. While the contribution describes some of the consequences of these policies on non-citizens and citizens alike, its main focus is on the individual and collective actions that are mobilized to master the uncertainties related with deportation, and the potential political force that these can foster.

The management of anxiety: an ethnographical outlook on self-mutilations in a French immigration detention center

Author: Nicolas Fischer (Centre d'étude du droit et des institutions pénales)  email
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Short Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic data gathered in a French immigration detention center for deported immigrants, this contribution will focus on the political and moral conflicts involved in the prevention, labelling and management of detainees' self-inflicted mutilations among members of the staff.

Long Abstract

This intervention will focus on the management of self-mutilations of detained immigrants awaiting deportation in French immigration detention centers. Drawing on ethnographic data gathered in one of those centers, I will describe the struggles that oppose members of the detention staff - police officers, social workers and Human Rights advocates - over the explanation, labelling and prevention of these self-inflicted wounds. These controversies particularly focus on the perceived anxiety of the detainees - presumably the reason for their "acting out" the mutilation - and on the best way to assess and regulate it. More generally, they unfold around a contradiction inherent to immigration detention in a democracy: it is a violent police institution, but also a "humanitarian" realm, where extreme suffering is proscribed and calls fo immediate relief.

I will first describe the "risk assessment system" organized inside the detention center I surveyed, to prevent mutilations through medical expertise of the detainee's state of mind. I will then focus on the practical dilemmas faced by Human Rights advocates who operate inside detention centers on that issue : indeed, they oppose police officers who label self-mutilations as "acts of delinquency" since they take the immigrant's body away from police control, but they still have to work with them to try to avoid mutilations, for humanitarian reasons. On the other hand, these advocates who often consider self-mutilations as "acts of resistance", cannot fully sustain them because of the vital risk they involve.

Struggling over exclusion: the decision making process on the deportation of foreign national offenders from Switzerland

Author: Christin Achermann (University of Neuchâtel)  email
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Short Abstract

Decisions on the deportation of foreign national offenders are the result of a balancing of interests that are related to various anxieties. This contribution aims at outlining the opposed interests and the different strategies of the actors struggling over exclusion and against uncertainty.

Long Abstract

Currently, administrative and Court decisions on the deportation of foreign national offenders from Switzerland are the result of a balancing of interests which are guided by various anxieties. This paper seeks to present the arguments and strategies deployed both by the foreign nationals contesting the deportation order and the authorities and Courts defending it. While the main motive in favour of deportation is related to anxieties regarding the future violation of law, public order and security, the foreigners supposed to be removed from the Swiss territory argue in favour of them staying by pointing to their fears of having to leave the country they've been living in for years and of having to return to the state they are officially members of. As the foreigners threatened by deportation will exhaust every remedy they dispose of, it usually takes years until the final decision is taken. During this time, which is mostly spent in custody, uncertainty regarding their future place of stay characterizes their lives. Prison staff and penal authorities deal differently with this situation of having to prepare inmates to an uncertain future. In addition to this opposition of anxieties, these struggles over exclusion furthermore highlight contrary views of justice - each related to different subjects of justice. The paper is based on data collected in two Swiss prisons and with the penal and migration authorities responsible for decisions regarding penal conditions and deportation.

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Monitoring forced returns from Switzerland

Author: Simon Röthlisberger (Swiss Federation of Protestant Churches)  email
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Short Abstract

The monitoring of forced returns from Switzerland provided a unique access to the so-called black box of forced returns on special flights. The paper is going to give an insight into these very powerful state processes. Starting point of the analysis are a NGO and a governmental perspective.

Long Abstract

During the last ten years, the forced deportation regime in Switzerland was continually evolving. Different levels of forced deportation were established: On level I, the police accompanies migrants, who accepted their return to their home country, to the airport. They take independently a regular passenger flight. On level II, the deportees are accompanied by police officers during the whole regular flight. Level III doesn't exist anymore. Finally level IV are deportations on special (charter) flights. In the Swiss terminology, the so-called frontex charter flights are level IV deportations.

Because of different incidents in the course of the last years, the European Commission established the EU Return Directive: EU-memberstates and Dublin-Schengen members have to establish an effective and independent monitoring system during forced returns. According to this EU Return Directive, the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches - in collaboration with the Swiss Refugee Aid - received a mandate for a period of six month in 2011 to establish a monitoring system. This mandate gave excellent access to an up to now nearly unknown field. The author was one of the project managers.

The proposed paper is going to present the experiences made during this six-month period. Mainly two perspectives will be analyzed: A non-governmental and a state perspective on forced returns and monitoring. Beside these different points of views the existing tensions between "quality control of forced deportations" and "respecting human rights standards" or "being part of the deportation process and to become therefore a justification for deportations" and "to be a independent human rights observer" will be discussed.

Deportation and bad luck in Anglophone Cameroon: towards a legal consciousness of migration policy

Author: Jill Alpes (Free University Amsterdam)  email
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Short Abstract

Drawing on ethnographic data gathered with deported migrants in Anglophone Cameroon, this contribution will explain why the physical return of migrants from Europe has little impact on the migratory aspirations of people within a context of departure.

Long Abstract

This paper will focus on the explanations that people in a context of emigration give to the causes of deportation. By embedding these explanations into their socio-cultural context, this paper sheds light onto alternative perceptions of dynamics between involuntary returns and justice. In view of the dominant view that high deportation rates are likely to discourage young people from wanting to migrate, I relate understandings of deportation in Anglophone Cameroon to normative assumptions within migration policy in Western Europe. In doing so, I draw on ethnographic material and life stories of deported migrants gathered in the course of one and a half years of fieldwork in Anglophone Cameroon.

Policy makers assume that higher deportation rates would discourage undocumented migration because they assume that illegality is a relatively immediate cause of deportation. This presentation argues that deportations do not so much flow out of the condition of illegality, but - inversely - feed into belief systems surrounding the notions of legality and illegality. The question as to why aspiring migrants aspire to migrate in the face of the danger of deportation stems from, and even feeds into, a belief that attributes a quasi-automatic power to law. Through a critical analysis of narratives that refer to bad luck, laziness and bad behaviour, this presentation locates illegality as a precondition and not a direct cause of forced return. By ethnographically exploring understandings of deportation in Cameroon, I thus seek to unravel the legal consciousness that drives migration policies in countries of arrival (Silbey 2005).

The deportee in a country where migration is always successful

Author: Stephan Duennwald (Centro de Estudos Africanos, ISCTE IUL, Lisbon)  email
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Short Abstract

European migration policies led to a rising number of deportees in Mali. Against the narrative of successful migration, the deportee is taken personally responsible for failure. This camouflages the political reasons for failed migrants and dealing with the difficulties for migration to Europe.

Long Abstract

In Mali, migration is seen as part of the career of young men, and conceptualised as circular, ending with a successful return and the life as a respected member in the home community. The European migration management leads to increasing difficulties to realise this migration pathway. Deportees arrive at the borders and the airport, and new migration is increasingly difficult, but the society is not prepared to cope with this new situation.

Failed migrants, among them especially those who had been returned forcefully by European or Maghreb countries, are accused personally of having failed, sometimes are rejected by their families, or feel to ashamed to return to their home town.

Analysing the inability of public discourse to cope with the growing number of failed migrants, this paper addresses among a number of reasons:

• The important notion of success, related to the honour of a person and the name of its family, in Mali.

• The strong view that migration to Europe (compared to the much more frequent migration within the region) is per se successful and a dichotomisation between success and failure of returnees resulting from this view

These discursive elements are strongly encouraged by transnational discourses on migration and development, which also address the successful migrant (and his/her money). This, apart from a difficult economic reintegration, turns the return of failed migrants to Mali into a task almost as difficult as the migration to Europe, and is at the heart of the constant trigger to remigrate again.

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This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.