Migrants under Control : Foreign bodies on the (Smart) Border - HAL-SHS - Sciences de l'Homme et de la Société Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2012

Migrants under Control : Foreign bodies on the (Smart) Border


The European Union (EU) policy puts a strong emphasis on the fight against irregular immigration, which might occur either through fraudulent entry or through illegal overstay of a regular visitor. The surveillance of its external borders, and especially that of the Schengen space where internal borders checks have been abolished, has thus been the objective of several enacted legislative provisions and implementation programmes. Confronted to the paradox of realizing its political will to increase the efficiency of its border control process while at the same time comply with the fundamental right of EU citizens to their free movement in the European space, the EU has decided to rely as much as possible on the use of information and communication technologies to implement its border control policies. To this end, and following-up on an earlier Communication on “Preparing the next steps in border management in the European Union” published in 2008, the European Commission (EC) issued in October 2011 a new Communication proposing a “Smart Border” programme and examining the options for its implementation to control the EU borders by electronic means. This “Smart Border” package aims at creating a new Entry/Exit System (EES) allowing to control not only incoming but also outgoing movements and a Registered Traveller Program (RTP) for frequent, pre-screened travellers. This package will add to the numerous existing mechanisms and databases, such as: EuroDac for asylum seekers; Passenger Name Records programmes for travellers pre-screening, the Visa Information System (VIS); the Schengen Information System; and many others. It will be interconnected or at least be interoperable to some of them. While most of the existing databases include biometric identifiers among the collected and processed personal data, the “Smart border” package proposal is intended to only include alphanumeric data in a first phase, leaving the possibility to include biometric identifiers in a second step. This proposed choice results from the observation that, although the inclusion of biometrics would immediately make the EES more efficient, it would have a negative impact on foreigners not requiring a visa (others being already identified using the VIS). Our proposed presentation will analyse the impact on fundamental human rights of this new EU “Smart Border” proposal, in relation with already existing mechanisms and databases for the control of migrants. Furthermore, it will show through our research conducted on the French immigration control legislation, practices and systems by information and communication means, how such policies are going well beyond the sole external borders control, to rather implement a full biometric monitoring of foreigners: from their very first visa request at a EU Member State consulate in their country of origin to their – voluntary or forced - return to this country, including their biometric registration and control during their stay as visitors or as regular foreign residents. We will show through this analysis how immigration control policies are intertwined with criminal policies, implying that migrants and foreigners are treated with the genral suspicion of being a criminal.
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hal-01254696 , version 1 (12-01-2016)


  • HAL Id : hal-01254696 , version 1


Meryem Marzouki. Migrants under Control : Foreign bodies on the (Smart) Border. IAMCR 2012 Conference, Jul 2012, Durban, South Africa. ⟨hal-01254696⟩
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