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H. Crawley, F. Düvell, N. Sigona, No direct flight: new maps show the fragmented journeys of migrants and refugees to Europe, theconversation.com, 02/11/2016

Politicians across Europe have talked about the arrival of refugees and migrants in 2015 and 2016 as if it were an unprecedented “event”, a single coherent flow of people “heading for Europe”. There is a focus on the beginning and end of peoples’ journeys – at the expense of almost everything in between.

Our new research with 500 refugees and migrants in Italy, Greece, Turkey and Malta reveals a much more complicated picture of protracted, fragmented journeys. Between them, our respondents travelled along nearly 100 different routes before eventually reaching Europe, sometimes having spent months or even years living elsewhere. The convergence of these routes in Turkey and Libya helps us to understand why the number of migrants heading to Europe increased to just over a million in 2015.

Although there were two main countries – Turkey and Libya – from which refugees and migrants departed towards Europe, the “back story” to this migration was actually composed of an intricate network of varied routes. This can be clearly seen in the first of two maps we have created by charting the routes of 122 of the 500 people we spoke to between September 2015 and January 2016.

Routes into Europe. MEDMIG., Author provided

For some – mainly those from Iraq and Syria – the journey to Europe was relatively direct. Of the Iraqis we interviewed in Greece, 86% had arrived less than one month after leaving their home country. But for many, the decision to travel to Europe was a much longer process. This was particularly the case for Afghans arriving in Greece, many of whom had lived in Iran for many years or had even been born there, and for Eritreans arriving in Italy, many of whom had lived for extended periods in Sudan, Egypt or Israel.

For many people, the countries to which they originally travelled – including Iran, Sudan, Libya, Turkey – were initially perceived as places where they could settle and live. This is why the vast majority of the world’s refugees remain in low- and middle-income countries. These countries include Turkey, which for the second year running hosted the largest number of Syrian refugees in 2015 – an estimated 2.7m. This compared to Pakistan (1.6m), Lebanon (1.1m), Libya (up to 1m), Iran (979,400), Ethiopia (736,100) and Jordan (664,100). It was only when people found themselves unable to rebuild their lives in these places that they made the decision to move on.

The decision to move, and move on

In previous reports on the Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes, we identified the significant factors driving people to leave their home countries. These included conflict and political persecution, the activities of terrorist and insurgency groups such as Islamic State. Kidnapping and the threat of forced – sometimes indefinite – military conscription, as well as dire economic conditions were also factors.

But if we want to understand the dynamics of migration to Europe we need to differentiate between the initial drivers of migration from countries of origin and those which propel people onwards beyond the immediate neighbouring countries. Some of these drivers reflect the ongoing desire to be safe: Syrians, for example, living in Lebanon who felt too close to the ongoing conflict or feared they might be located by Assad government officials. Or Eritreans who had left due to indefinite military conscription but were unable to rebuild their lives in Sudan due to the civil war there.

But they also relate to an individual’s inability to build or rebuild a life due to a lack of rights and opportunities for employment, particularly where there is protracted conflict.

While all Afghans experience varying degrees of discrimination in Iran, the situation is particularly difficult for those from the ethnic Hazara minority who are more easily identifiable due to their distinctive physical appearance. Those we spoke to had experienced severe discrimination in Iran, had no citizenship rights and faced a shortage of education for their children. Combined with increasing anxieties about what would happen to them if they were forced to return to Afghanistan where Hazara are subject to increasing attacks, this had made life in Iran intolerable. News that they might finally be able to secure protection in Europe propelled those we interviewed to move on.

Libya had also been a destination country for many of those we interviewed in Italy who thought that it would provide opportunities for work, as it has done for many years. But the violent, chaotic reality of everyday life in the country was very different from what they had expected. Those who had little intention of staying in Libya often found their journeys interrupted and stays extended as a result of kidnapping and violence. Others who had intended to settle, work and live in Libya came to realise that they would have to move on again to find somewhere safe.

It was the combination of these different factors – conflict and insecurity in the home country but also in the countries to which refugees and migrants then moved – that led to the convergence of flows in Turkey and Libya and, in turn, the very significant increase in arrivals during 2015, as our second map shows.

Routes into Europe converge. MEDMIG., Author provided

Beyond push and pull

Migration across the Mediterranean in 2015 did not consist of a single coherent flow but rather was made up of a number of distinct sub-flows from many countries and regions. It included both individuals and families with diverse migration histories and experiences. The situation has not changed in 2016 except, of course, that the route from Turkey to Greece and onwards into other EU Member States has now largely closed as a result of the EU-Turkey agreement which provides for the return of those crossing the Mediterranean by boat.

The vast majority of those arriving in Europe during 2015 came from countries in which there was well-documented conflict and human rights abuse. But it is impossible to fully appreciate the complex drivers of migration without examining the ways in which political, economic and social factors come together to shape the experiences of those on the move. The longer people are on the move, the more complicated – and difficult to unpack – these factors become.

The solution to the “crisis” lies not only in opening up, and significantly expanding, safe and legal routes to protection for refugees and migrants, but also addressing the problems faced by those living in countries outside of Europe for whom access to rights, employment, education – and hope – remain elusive.

https://theconversation.com/no-direct-flight-new-maps-show-the-fragmented-journeys-of-migrants-and-refugees-to-europe-67955

photo à la une @Tracking the long and complex journey of refugees and migrants. © Heaven Crawley , Author provided

 

 

Patrick Timmons, How Richard Nixon’s Operation Intercept laid the foundation for decades of U.S.-Mexico border policy, including Donald Trump’s wall, nacla.org, 03/27/2017

« Richard Nixon was the first U.S. president who made a promise to close the U.S-Mexican border to illegal drugs and unwanted people part of an election-winning strategy. Speaking on the campaign trail from Anaheim, California, in 1968, Candidate Nixon promised to deal with the “marijuana problem” protested by parents of California’s youth by intercepting Mexican drugs at the border. Then, on September 21, 1969, just eight months after his inauguration, President Nixon’s Treasury and Justice Departments launched Operation Intercept along the almost 2,000 miles of southern border in a supposed attempt to enforce federal narcotics laws.

Spending $30 million USD, Intercept staffed the border with thousands of federal law enforcement agents who were charged with executing intense, time-consuming customs inspections. Nixon’s bottlenecks at the international bridges disrupted life and business on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. They also provoked resistance. The Mexican Chamber of Commerce led a brief U.S.-travel boycott on behalf of merchants who had lost trade in Mexican border communities, including Ciudad Juárez. Then Mexican president Gustavo Díaz Ordaz said Intercept “raised a wall of suspicion” between the two countries. Indeed, for almost three weeks, Intercept created a “wall effect” as the U.S. government turned a fluid border into an obstacle course.

Although the U.S. government officially ceased the operation of the program in October 1969, Intercept’s principles have guided border policy for every president since Nixon. In the late 1970s, Kent State University political scientist R. B. Craig called Intercept “a benchmark in United States-Mexico narcotics policy.” In 1999, U.S. Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-El Paso) remembered Intercept because it “initiated new approaches to a problem of national magnitude.” Reyes would know. Prior to Congress, he was the El Paso sector Border Patrol chief, and in 1993, he designed and executed Operation Blockade/Hold-the-Line, placing agents at roughly 50-yard intervals along the urban border between El Paso and Juárez to stop smuggling and unauthorized immigration. Reyes immediately followed Hold-the-Line with an attempt to build a fence on the western outskirts of Juárez/El Paso. Similarly, law-and-order politicians, like former Maricopa County, Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, fondly remember Intercept. As the New Yorker’s William Finnegan reported in 2009, Arpaio, who worked on Intercept with erstwhile Nixon operative G. Gordon Liddy, said the operation “nearly closed the border with Mexico.” The no-exceptions customs inspections became permanent after September 11, 2001.

Today, Donald Trump’s threatened U.S.-Mexico border wall—like Nixon he wants to keep unwanted elements from Mexico out of the U.S.—comes straight from Nixon’s playbook. As Grace Slick of the rock band Jefferson Airplane sang in 1970 in response to the dearth of marijuana in the U.S. for the months after Intercept, “Mexico is under the thumb of a man we call Richard.” As with Nixon, so too with Trump. And now, perhaps more than ever, Mexico must beware of the United States’ longstanding inclination for unilateral action on the two nations’ shared border. After all, Trump won’t so much build the wall as complete it: at present, a fence 18 feet tall lines 650 miles of the southern border. »  (…)

https://nacla.org/news/2017/03/27/trump%27s-wall-nixon%27s-border

Click here to read the rest of the article, or

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10714839.2017.1298238

Trump’s Wall at Nixon’s Border Patrick Timmons NACLA Report on the Americas Vol. 49 , Iss. 1,2017

photo@ Border-bottleneck-Bridge-of-the-Americas-CBP-wikimediacommons

 

 

Salim Chena, Winston Smith aux frontières. Surveillance, contrôle et migrations au Sud de l’Europe, lamenparle, 15/03/2017

(…) « En effet, au début des années 2000, les Pays-Bas et la Grande-Bretagne ont lancé la politique dite d’externalisation des frontières de l’Union européenne, aujourd’hui largement banalisée au travers des hotspots. Il s’agit, en réalité, d’une gestion déterritorialisée de l’immigration et de l’asile dans laquelle le candidat est sélectionné, vetted, avant même d’entrer dans l’espace européen selon une logique à la fois utilitaire et sécuritaire (Valluy, 2009). Le Maroc fut le premier pays maghrébin à transposer juridiquement les exigences européennes – restrictives et répressives – en matière de politique migratoire dans la loi 02-03 du 11 novembre 2003 (Belguendouz, 2005)1, puis il a abrité la Conférence euro-africaine sur les migrations de 2006. A l’origine de ces inquiétudes, pour dire le moins, européennes, se trouvent les enclaves espagnoles dans le nord du Maroc : les villes de Ceuta et Mellila – considérées comme des colonies par Rabat. Puis, après les évènements de l’automne 2005, ce fut la route des Canaries – bien plus longue et dangereuse – qui se développait, puis s’est déplacée de Laayoune (Maroc) à Nouadhibou (Mauritanie) jusqu’à Saint-Louis (Sénégal). Cette nouvelle route – parmi d’autres à venir – avait donné à la jeune agence Frontex l’occasion de prouver son utilité avec les Opérations conjointes Hera – chargées de surveiller les îles Canaries et les côtes d’Afrique de l’Ouest – qui en ont finalement eu raison.

Mais, au-delà d’une conception étriquée de la sécurité2, il y a une réalité politique et sociale de la migration irrégulière. Depuis le début du XXIè siècle, le Maghreb redécouvre son africanité par intermédiaire des études sahariennes et que l’économie politique des grandes découvertes, puis les frontières et l’éducation coloniales avaient occultée ; le tropisme européen du Maghreb méditerranéen n’a été remis en cause qu’après la fermeture progressive de l’espace européen aux maghrébins dès les années 1980 et 1990 et l’intériorisation de l’espace saharo-sahélien comme limes stratégique – autant à l’échelle régionale dans le triangle relationnel Maroc-Algérie-Libye qu’à l’échelle globale avec l’introduction du Sahara comme théâtre périphérique de la Global War on Terror américaine. Surtout, le rôle d’entrainement des politiques publiques des Etats pétroliers dans le développement du Sahara a contribué à urbaniser le désert et à revitaliser des activités traditionnelles (transport, commerce) à l’heure de la mondialisation. »  (…)

http://lamenparle.hypotheses.org/577

photo@ Stephanos Mangriotis, Ceuta, avec autorisation.

Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez; Josiah Heyman (eds.), The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region, 2017

 Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez; Josiah Heyman (eds.), The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region. Cultural Dynamics and Historical Interactions, The Arizona University Press, 2017

« The U.S.-Mexico Transborder Region presents advanced anthropological theorizing of culture in an important regional setting. Not a static entity, the transborder region is peopled by ever-changing groups who face the challenges of social inequality: political enforcement of privilege, economic subordination of indigenous communities, and organized resistance to domination.

The book, influenced by the work of Eric Wolf and senior editor Carlos G. Vélez-Ibáñez, centers on the greater Mexican North/U.S. Southwest, although the geographic range extends farther. This tradition, like other transborder approaches, attends to complex and fluid cultural and linguistic processes, going beyond the classical modern anthropological vision of one people, one culture, one language. With respect to recent approaches, however, it is more deeply social, focusing on vertical relations of power and horizontal bonds of mutuality.

Vélez-Ibáñez and Heyman envision this region as involving diverse and unequal social groups in dynamic motion over thousands of years. Thus the historical interaction of the U.S.-Mexico border, however massively unequal and powerful, is only the most recent manifestation of this longer history and common ecology. Contributors emphasize the dynamic « transborder » quality—conflicts, resistance, slanting, displacements, and persistence—in order to combine a critical perspective on unequal power relations with a questioning perspective on claims to bounded simplicity and perfection.

The book is notable for its high degree of connection across the various chapters, strengthened by internal syntheses from notable border scholars, including Robert R. Alvarez and Alejandro Lugo. In the final section, Judith Freidenberg draws general lessons from particular case studies, summarizing that « access to valued scarce resources prompts the erection of human differences that get solidified into borders, » dividing and limiting, engendering vulnerabilities and marginalizing some people.

At a time when understanding the U.S.-Mexico border is more important than ever, this volume offers a critical anthropological and historical approach to working in transborder regions. » (editor)

http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid2709.htm#

Samuel Berthet, Les flux contrariés du Bengale. Réflexions sur la frontière indo-bangladaise, laviedesidees.fr, 15/12/2017

« La frontière entre le Bangladesh et l’Inde impose une fracture artificielle à un espace culturellement homogène. Plongés dans l’illégalité, les nombreux migrants qui continuent de circuler entre les deux États s’exposent à des risques accrus d’exploitation et à une marginalisation croissante.

De l’extrémité orientale à l’extrémité occidentale du plateau himalayen, les cours d’eau du Delta du Bengale dessinent une immense arborescence d’axes de circulation fluviale ouverte à l’Asie du Sud-Est. Le Bengale unifié – le Bangladesh et l’État indien du Bengale occidental actuels – constitue le point nodal du Golfe septentrional du Bengale, un espace qui comprend aussi l’Arakan, le nord de la Birmanie, le sud-ouest de la Chine, les États du nord-est de l’Inde et le nord de l’Orissa. Les circulations qui l’animaient en firent un des espaces majeurs de la construction de l’économie mondiale.

Ignorant les circulations au sein de cet espace, le tracé de la frontière indo-bangladaise (cinquième plus grande frontière au monde, et également la plus fragmentée), génère des flux humains et porte à des dimensions structurelles l’immigration illégale.

Le processus de partition interne et externe de cet espace transforme en des lignes frontières rigides des zones limitrophes fluides et fluctuantes qui constituaient auparavant des aires de négociation et d’échanges. Confessionnelle et cadastrale, la frontière indo-bangladaise a été imposée au détriment de réseaux de sociabilité issus de circulations intenses et d’interdépendances complexes. La réflexion sur l’ambivalence entre la carte et le territoire y prend tout son sens.

Dans la migration bangladaise vers l’Inde, quelle est la part des circulations que la frontière suscite et de celles qui lui préexistaient ? Dans quel cadre inscrire les projets récents de corridors dans un espace, le Golfe du Bengale septentrional, où le Bangladesh, le Bengale et le nord-est de l’Inde occupent une place centrale. » (…)

http://www.laviedesidees.fr/Les-flux-contraries-du-Bengale.html#page

Illustration :  © Moheen Reeyad / Wikimedia Commons / "The Last House of Bangladesh, Sylhet (01)" / CC-BY-SA-4.0