Working Paper

States of Insecurity: Consequences of Saharan Transit Migration

Published 1 January 2006 / By Michael Collyer

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As it has become more and more difficult to travel directly to Europe , by both legal and illegal means, migrants have resorted to long and frequently dangerous overland journeys as a way of circumventing migration controls. Increasingly, migrants on these routes do not make it to Europe at all but spend longer and longer periods in transit. Research on illegal migration to Europe has concentrated on those migrants who actually arrive but as periods in transit increase this is a smaller proportion of those individuals involved in processes of migration to Europe . This paper reports on research with migrants stuck in Morocco . Although their numbers are insignificant compared to total migration to the EU their presence has commanded very significant policy and media attention. The Moroccan state is now held responsible for preventing these migrants reaching Europe . This recent twist in the geopolitical significance of migration in the European neighbourhood ultimately increases the tremendous insecurity of the lives of illegal migrants in Morocco although it has so far done little to reduce the attractions of Morocco as a country of transit. These migrations are not only the result of policy changes in Europe but also developments across the Sahel region. They are therefore likely to be of more lasting significance.


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