chapter  15
13 Pages

The Production of Illegality in Migration and Diaspora

State policies and human smuggling from Pakistan
WithAli Nobil Ahmad

Human smuggling and illegal migration are today issues of paramount concern to policymakers and electorates across Western Europe, where the presence of migrants and asylum seekers from South Asia and other parts of the developing world has become a matter of relentless and often vitriolic public debate in countries as diverse in their respective migration histories as Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden. Dominant academic, technocratic and media discourse in all these contexts tends to construct irregular border-crossing and economic activity as novel forms of criminality produced by ‘globalisation’ — the unfettered movement of capital, goods and people in an apparently new era of increased human mobility and diminishing state sovereignty. In truth, the political wind as far as migration control has blown exclusively in restrictionist directions since the 1970s; capital might traverse the globe with an ease that compresses time and space in unprecedented ways, but state control over the movement of labour reached its zenith in human history during the first decade of the twenty-first century.