Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers

The Institute for Migration and Ethnic Studies in conjunction with the Amsterdam Centre for Migration and Refugee Law are proud to present a research seminar on the Politics of Refugees

Refuge Beyond Reach: How Rich Democracies Repel Asylum Seekers
David Fitzgerald
Professor of Sociology, UC San Diego
Discussant: Hemme Battjes, professor of European Asylum Law, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

In this event, Prof. Fitzgerald will discuss some of the central themes from his recently published book Refuge beyond Reach (OUP). Prof. FitzGerald traces how rich democracies have deliberately and systematically shut down most legal paths to safety. Drawing on official government documents, information obtained via WikiLeaks, and interviews with asylum seekers, he finds that for ninety-nine percent of refugees, the only way to find safety in one of the prosperous democracies of the Global North is to reach its territory and then ask for asylum. FitzGerald shows how the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia comply with the letter of the law while violating the spirit of the law through a range of deterrence methods—first designed to keep out Jews fleeing the Nazis—that have now evolved into a pervasive global system of “remote control.” While some of the most draconian remote control practices continue in secret, FitzGerald identifies some pressure points and finds that a diffuse humanitarian obligation to help those in need is more difficult for governments to evade than the law alone.

Date: 28 May 2019
Time: 12:00-13:30
Location: UVA Roeterseiland Campus, Room B 3.06