Migration Law and Policy

Migration governance has become a major field of interest within migration studies. The rules and mechanisms by which states aim at regulating and administering the social processes related to international mobility can be approached from different disciplinary and methodological angles. Within this vast field we adopt a socio-legal perspective that takes migration law and policy as its research objects and analyses their societal roles. Thereby we understand law both as resulting from social processes and as an important structuring factor of these very social processes. An interest in law and policies implies putting the state centre stage. With regard to migration today’s states’ characteristics as nation-states are of particular importance. Nevertheless, nation-states should not be taken as isolated and natural units of analysis, but are to be analysed as particular social formations, within their interlinkages to other states or supranational frameworks (international human rights regime) and embedded in transnational processes. A socio-legal perspective on migration law and policy implies an interest in the following aspects and levels of analysis: creation and transformation of legislation; implementation of legal texts in the practices of state representatives (administrations and courts); migrants’ way of dealing with and reacting to migration law and its implementation.

Our focus

In our research, we deal with the different aspects of migration law, including the regulation of immigration, integration, access to citizenship, asylum and concerning both EU and non-EU citizens. More specifically, we analyse the application and the role of legal regulations regarding irregular migration and undocumented migrants, border control, in different aspects related to asylum procedure and refugees, integration policy, naturalization and deprivation of citizenship and regarding deportation and detention (of irregular migrants, rejected asylum seekers and foreign-national offenders). Within these fields, we are interested in a variety of actors (different state sectors, non-state actors, migrants) and their respective instruments and practices (e.g. Country of origin information).