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 discussed this issue at the “Understanding Causes and Consequences of Criminalization of Migration” conference in Ljubljana, co-hosted by the Peace Institute, the Institute of Criminology at the Faculty of Law Ljubljana, and the International Law Association of Slovenia. Majcher argues that employing detention as recommended by the EC is a manifestation of the phenomenon of “crimmigration”—or the convergence between immigration and criminal law. The consequence of this mismatch is that states use detention for punitive purposes but they continue enjoying broader discretion, which characterises administrative proceedings. Deprived of their liberty for coercive reasons, for extended periods of time and often in prison-like conditions, detainees are thus not granted adequate procedural protections.
More information about the conference is available here.