A Transnational Refugee Regime

Malene Jacobsen

In this paper, I grapple with the spatiality of migration management. As of January 2016, over 633,000 Syrians were registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Jordan. Western states increasingly channel regional humanitarian aid and refugee processing procedures through Jordan in order to curb the flows of Syrian forced migrants to their own shores. Denmark is a prime example of this trend. Not only has Denmark been at the forefront of reducing the European Union's commitments to humanitarian migration and asylum, it also increasingly manages migration through humanitarian aid and multilateral agreements with countries bordering conflict zones. Drawing on fieldwork in Denmark and Jordan, I employ the analytic of transnational topography to explore the spatialities of European migration management. Scholars have used the terms externalization and extraterritorialization to denote how Western states' migration control and border enforcement practices are moving outward, to sites beyond the states' territorial remit. While this literature has provided important theoretical insights into conceptualizing state power, I argue the terms conceptually do not provide an adequate vocabulary that can address the current geopolitics of European migration management. Following this recent focus on the transnationalization of the border, this paper poses a different set of questions about b/ordering and the involvement of third countries and humanitarian organizations in European migration management.

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