Discrepancies in European Union policies towards illegal immigration : The securitisation of the visa-overstayer and the irregular migrant

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: Visa-liberalisation agreements are commonly used as an incentive by the EU to encourage cooperation within the realm of border and migration management with its neighbouring countries. The ultimate aim of these agreements is to reduce irregular migration to Schengen territory, something that has been percieved as an increasingly urgent issue for European policy makers in the wake of the 2015 'migration crisis'. However, the use of visa liberalisation agreements in such a fashion appears contradictory considering that most irregular migrants in the EU most likely are visa-overstayers. This essay takes of in this apparent puzzle and argues that securitisation theory might help us better understand this discrepancy. While the construction of the migrant as a security threat in Europe has been thoroughly examined, differences in securitisation between grups of irregular migrants are often left out of the discussion or only implicitly mentioned. By examining the discourse and practices of a central EU agency in regard to border and migration management, FRONTEX, this thesis shows that visa-overstayers are routinely left out of the securitised discussion on irregular migration, thus rendering EU policies asymmetrically occupied with irregular migration by means of 'illegal entry'. However, the thesis also uncovers a more conplex set of ideas that show that although visa-overstayers are not conceptulised as threats to security in discourse on par with other categories of irregular migrants, visa-goers and other travellers are, too, incresingly subjected to a rationale of survaillance and risk. 

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