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Transnational Migrant Deterrence
Boston College Law Review
  • Anita Sinha, American University Washington College of Law
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Boston College Law Review


The governance of global migration increasingly relies on what critical migration scholarship refers to as externalized control. Externalization encompasses limiting human mobility through the imposition of migration control measures by transit states, as well as by states that are geographically proximate to destination states. Destination states are at a minimum complicit in the creation and operation of these externalized migration control systems. To capture this phenomenon, this Article offers a reconceptualization of externalization as transnational migration deterrence. The objective ofthis nomenclature is to provide a framework that highlights the role of destination states, to build a lexicon of accountability for extraterritorial human rights violations against migrants. Transnational migration deterrence systems often arise through ad hoc policies and practices, typically as a response to a migration "crisis,"and continue thereafter as long-lasting mechanisms of regional migration control. Destination states typically provide assistance for less-resourced states to carry out migration control on their behalf through financial and logistical support, while also levying threats ifthey fail to deter migration. This Article begins with transnational migration deterrence in the Americas, describing first the historical context of the U.S.-Caribbean migrant deterrence system and then present-day migration control practices between the United States, Mexico, and Central America. It then turns to the transnational migration deterrence systems in Europe and Australia, chronicling arrangements of interdiction at sea and offshore detention in both regions. The Article concludes by exploring a framework ofaccountability that recognizes the relational nature of how externalized migration controls are operationalized, emphasizing the need for systems of accountability with respect to destination countries' role in migration deterrence practices.

Citation Information
Anita Sinha. "Transnational Migrant Deterrence" Boston College Law Review Vol. 63 Iss. 4 (2022) p. 1295 - 1347
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