Book Chapter

European Union and National Responses to Migrants with Irregular Status: Is the Fortress Slowly Crumbling?

Published 21 May 2020 / By Nicola Delvino

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Introduction

This chapter outlines the evolution of EU and national legislation and policies responding to the presence of irregular migrants in Europe. It describes how the legal and policy responses of the EU and its member states have evolved around a predominantly ‘exclusionary approach’ towards irregularly-staying migrants that has contributed to building ‘Fortress Europe’. Besides the evolution of the EU immigration acquis, this chapter explores national developments in policy domains other than immigration legislation, including criminal law and social policies, aimed at marginalising irregular migrants to encourage their departure. However, as totally exclusionary policies have not succeeded in their final goal of eradicating the presence of irregular migrants, European countries have partially re-thought their approach to take account of that presence and the social needs arising from it. Against an over-arching, continuing exclusionary focus in law and policy, this chapter identifies a more recent counter-trend of policies slowly but increasingly showing instances of inclusion of irregular migrants, such as instances of de-criminalisation of irregular migration, extension of access to services, and victim support for migrants with irregular status.

Citation

Delvino N. (2020) European Union and National Responses to Migrants with Irregular Status: Is the Fortress Slowly Crumbling?. In: Spencer S., Triandafyllidou A. (eds) Migrants with Irregular Status in Europe. IMISCOE Research Series. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34324-8_5