Harmonizing for Whom? The Devaluation of Refugee Protection in the Era of European Economic Integration

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The pursuit of enhanced economic integration within Europe poses a threat to both the substance and the processes of the international system of refugee protection. In substantive terms, European Community governments have seized upon the impending termination of immigration controls at intra-Community borders to demand enhanced security at the Community's external frontiers. Fearful that a continuing commitment to refugee protection threatens the viability of a union premised on external closure, states have taken the facile approach of elaborating a policy of generalized deterrence: all persons seeking entry from less developed states-whether or not they have a valid claim to refugee status-will be stigmatized as potential threats to European communal well-being, and their prospects for ingress consequently constrained. Under the guise of "harmonization", European governments have effectively renounced their commitment to an inter-regional system of asylum.


Work published when author not on Michigan Law faculty.