RESPOND will study migration governance through a narrative which is constructed along five thematic fields: (1) Border management and security, (2) Refugee protection regimes, (3) Reception policies, (4) Integration policies, and (5) Conflicting Europeanization. Each thematic field is reflecting a juncture in the migration journey of refugees and designed to provide a holistic view of policies, their impacts and responses given by affected actors within.
Migration governance is about controlling borders and security, but it is also about defining who will be accepted “in” and who will be left “out.” The responses of the actors involved and their interactions matter for the outcomes of the policies. We observe that in the face of the recent refugee crisis, policy-making is stretched and polarized between developing “more efficient measures” (particularistic) to tackling the mass movement of people across borders and preserving the foundational “normative principles” (universal) of the global governance of migration.
Refugees cross land and oceans, they venture into new territories, and they traverse old borders, demonstrating the impossibility of excluding the power of those (refugees) who aim to get “in” and cross the borders despite all security measures. Unfortunately, many die in this journey. Refugee protection is therefore an inseparable part of migration governance and opens up a debate about how to balance state security with human security. Those who manage to enter into new territories become the subject of reception policies, which have a longterm impact on the integration or alienation of refugees. The governance of migration is also about finding durable solutions for the settlement of refugees. This brings us to the topic of integration of refugees (now “newcomers”) in the post-migration context. Migration governance is not only about what makes people move (pre-migration context), but also about what people do after they cross borders and settle into a new country. How does settlement affect their lives, the lives of people already living there, and policies, institutions and economies? And, what new social, cultural and political realities are constructed? Integration policies, practices and outcomes are directly linked to the governance of migration. Without examining integration, a full understanding of migration governance will always be lacking.