Immigration Detention in Germany: From Open Arms to Public Backlash

During the height of Europe’s migration “crisis,” Germany was one of the few EU countries to openly embrace assisting refugees, registering more than a million arrivals in less than two years. However, this stance spurred a public backlash, which led to the adoption of a host of restrictive measures, including policies intended to increase removals, limit family reunifications, and expand the range of facilities that can be used to detain migrants. […]

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Immigration Detention in Hungary: Transit Zone or Twilight Zone?

Hungary’s efforts to block asylum seekers were at the centre of an important May 2020 European Union Court of Justice ruling concerning its “transit zone” detention sites, located along the border with Serbia. For years, Hungary refused to acknowledge that people were “detained” in these facilities, going so far as to refuse the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention entry during its visit to the country in 2018. […]

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Immigration Detention in Spain: A Rapid Response to Covid-19

On 6 May 2020, Spain reported that for the first time in its history, its long-term immigration detention facilities, “Foreign Internment Centres,” were empty. These centres had long been the target of activists, local politicians, and human rights bodies, who argued that they were unnecessary and abusive. The Covid-19 crisis, which shut down deportation flights, provided a final push. But enormous questions remain. […]

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Europe, Migrations and the Mediterranean: Human Mobilities and Intercultural Challenges

The 15th IMISCOE Annual Conference took place in Barcelona on 2-4 July 2018. Organised by the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, the conference brought together the European migration scholarship community to draw attention to geographical dimensions of migration and to provide a forum for methodological discussions linking Mediterranean and migration studies. GDP Researcher Izabella Majcher gave a presentation on data […]

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The Effectiveness of the EU Return Policy at All Costs: The Coercive Use of Administrative Pre-Removal Detention 

In February 2017, the European Commission (EC) adopted a specific Recommendation to guide EU states in the interpretation of the Returns Directive, stressing that detention can be essential in enhancing the effectiveness of the return system. However, despite its administrative label, pre-removal detention as interpreted by the EC contains punitive elements. GDP Researcher Izabella Majcher […]

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The EU Hotspot Approach: Hotspots and Plethora of Freedom-Restricting Measures

This themed blog series organized by GDP Researcher Izabella Majcher for the Oxford University-based Border Criminologies examines the EU hotspot approach from the perspective of the right to liberty and freedom of movement, highlighting the unclear division of roles and responsibilities between EU agencies and host member states, the blurred line between detention and reception, substandard material conditions, a lack of transparency, and differential treatment based on nationality, among a host of other concerns. […]

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UN Child Rights Experts Call for EU-Wide Ban on Child Immigration Detention

Ahead of a key meeting of EU institutions and member states on issues relating to immigration and asylum, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued an urgent plea for EU countries to bring an end to the migration-related detention of children. “EU law should not allow for child immigration detention, even as a last […]

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Uneven Business: Privatisation of Immigration Detention in Europe

Europe reflects a variety of policy responses to the growth of the immigration control industry – from the privatisation of the management of entire immigration detention estates to keeping all detention facilities in official hands and employing private non-profit groups. In this chapter, Michael Flynn, Matthew Flynn, and Eryn Wagon detail the variety of levels and forms of privatisation adopted across the region, as well as the challenges that the outsourcing of immigration controls posits. […]

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Immigration detention in Italy

As the main European destination for asylum seekers and undocumented migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean by boat, Italy confronts considerable migration challenges. It has responded by ramping up its domestic detention system, implementing the controversial “hotspot” approach to process maritime arrivals, boosting interdiction efforts, and adopting new legal measures that restrict avenues for asylum. The […]

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