Critical Perspectives on Clandestine Migration Facilitation: An Overview of Migrant Smuggling Research

Journal on Migration and Human Security, Volume 5 Number 1: 9-27

Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper No. 2916057

15 Pages Posted: 16 Feb 2017

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

This paper provides an overview of contemporary, empirical scholarship on clandestine migration facilitation. It then argues that the processes leading to clandestine or irregular migration are not merely the domain of criminal groups. Rather, they also involve a series of complex mechanisms of protection crafted within migrant and refugee communities as attempts to reduce the vulnerabilities known to be inherent to clandestine journeys. Both criminal and less nefarious efforts are shaped by and in response to enforcement measures worldwide on the part of nation-states to control migration flows.

Devised within migrant and refugee communities, and mobilized formally and informally among their members, strategies to facilitate clandestine or irregular migration constitute a system of human security rooted in generations-long, historical notions of solidarity, tradition, reciprocity, and affect (Khosravi 2010). Yet amid concerns over national and border security, and the reemergence of nationalism, said strategies have become increasingly stigmatized, traveling clandestinely being perceived as an inherently — and uniquely — criminal activity. This contribution constitutes an attempt to critically rethink the framework present in everyday narratives of irregular migration facilitation. It is a call to incorporate into current protection dialogs the perceptions of those who rely on criminalized migration mechanisms to fulfill mobility goals, and in so doing, articulate and inform solutions towards promoting safe and dignifying journeys for all migrants and asylum seekers in transit.

Keywords: migration facilitation, irregular migration, migrant and refugee communities, border security

Suggested Citation

Sanchez, Gabriella, Critical Perspectives on Clandestine Migration Facilitation: An Overview of Migrant Smuggling Research (2017). Journal on Migration and Human Security, Volume 5 Number 1: 9-27, Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship Research Paper No. 2916057, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2916057

Gabriella Sanchez (Contact Author)

University of Texas, El Paso ( email )

500 W University Ave
El Paso, TX 79902
United States

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