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Immigration detention in Belgium and the Netherlands



Description: The expulsion of irregular migrants has become a central part of European immigration policies. Although legally defined as a measure of last resort, in practice, administrative immigration detention is a key instrument to facilitate the expulsion of irregular migrants. Scarce international criminological research illustrates the hybrid nature of immigration detention: although administrative in character as an instrument of migration control, it contains punitive elements turning it into a ‘prison-like’ institution. In order to gain insight in its nature and the implications for those involved, theoretical and empirical research on immigration detention in Belgium and the Netherlands is carried out. This research, on the cross-section between penology and migration studies, aims to fill this gap by studying the organisation of expulsion and daily life in immigration detention. In order to fully understand expulsion practices, multiple viewpoints will be taken into account as both the perspective of irregular migrants subjected to immigration detention and the perspective of different immigration detention staff members (governors, educators, social workers and security personnel) will be studied. .

Outputs: Doctoral thesis, academic articles, conference presentations, communications for a broader public.

Relevant publications:

Breuls, L. (2020). Understanding immigration detention. The analytical value of practical and emotional challenges during fieldwork. Journal of Organizational Ethnography, 9(2), 129-142.

Breuls, L. & De Ridder, S. (2019). The evolution of detaining accompanied migrant minors without a residence permit in Belgium. In: M.J. Guia & S. Gomes (Eds.), Prisons, state and violence. Cham: Springer, 147-159.

Breuls, L. (2019). De vreemdelingenrechtelijke opsluiting van begeleide minderjarigen (noot onder RvS 4 april 2019). Tijdschrift voor Jeugd- en Kinderrechten, 20(3), 288-304.

Breuls, L. (2017). Portraying forced removal as a means for crime control. On immigration policy communication in Belgium. Lo Squaderno: Explorations in Space and Society, 44, 39-42.

Coordinator: Prof Kristel Beyens

ResearcherLars Breuls

Funding: Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek  (FWO)

Duration: 2016-2020