Issue Brief- Cutting Off the Flow: Extraterritorial Controls to Prevent Migration

An Issue Brief, “Cutting Off the Flow: Extraterritorial Controls to Prevent Migration,” written by Eleanor Taylor-Nicholson, has been published by the Warren Institute for Law and Social Policy, University of California, Berkeley.  The issue brief was written as a background paper for a conference held by the Warren Institute at UC Berkeley Law School on 22 April 2011.

Excerpt: “… This issue brief explores the extent to which the United States, Europe and European governments have implemented different extraterritorial controls. Although we hear of such controls in the media, how common are they? Who is overseeing them? What do they involve? What are concerns with their use? To answer these questions, this brief presents information on key actors, including individual nation-states and their agents, and on the range of mechanisms used by both. A comparison of two major immigration destinations is included to consider similarities and differences in the use of extraterritorial controls by states.

A review of the literature and media reports finds that extraterritorial controls include a diverse range of measures by different actors, some of which have been extremely controversial, such as maritime interdiction and offshore detention, and others that are more accepted or less understood, such as visa controls and disruption of organized immigration crime. Further, while such controls are now ubiquitous in both regions, their design and implementation generally lack public oversight and accountability mechanisms. They may protect states from security threats, have the potential to provide early protection to people in need, and save traveling migrants in distress. But, if used primarily as an immigration deterrence mechanism, they can cause harm. Indeed they may provide states a means to evade their international obligations or lead to violations of international refugee law and human rights law.

In light of this, we recommend governments conduct a comprehensive and public review of the extraterritorial controls they have in place, taking into consideration international refugee and human rights commitments. We also urge governments to increase the transparency of their immigration control agreements with third parties, including private actors and other states….”

Click here for Issue Brief.

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Filed under Analysis, European Union, Frontex

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