The European Paradox of Unwanted Migration

Book chapter

Carling, Jørgen (2011) The European Paradox of Unwanted Migration, in A Threat Against Europe? Security, Migration and Integration. Brussels: Brussels University Press (VUB) (33–46).

Much of the current immigration to Europe is ‘unwanted’ in the sense that receiving countries would prefer to be without it. This migration falls into two categories: First, there is immigration that occurs because of states’ incapacity to implement their rules. The migrants in question are people who arrive in Europe, usually through the services of human smugglers, and may be impossible to return even if their requests for residence are rejected. A second, and much larger, part of the ‘unwanted’ immigration is reluctantly accepted by European governments. This includes migrants who are granted asylum or other forms of protection, and migrants who are admitted for family reasons. Political pressure to reduce the number of immigrants in these groups has intensified considerably. A critical point which justifies the label ‘unwanted’ is that support for admitting these migrant groups is largely based on political motivation to uphold the underlying principles rather than a positive evaluation of the immigration flows they generate. This chapter discusses the strategies used by states to reduce ‘unwanted’ immigration.

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