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2018 | Book

After Deportation

Ethnographic Perspectives


About this book

This book analyses post-deportation outcomes and focuses on what happens to migrants and failed asylum seekers after deportation. Although there is a growing literature on detention and deportation, academic research on post-deportation is scarce. The book produces knowledge about the consequences of forced removal for deportee’s adjustment and “reintegration” in so-called “home” country. As the pattern of migration changes, new research approaches are needed. This book contributes to establish a more multifaceted picture of criminalization of migration and adds novel aspects and approaches, both theoretically and empirically, to the field of migration research.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction
Experience of many deportees is an experience of ‘double abandonment’ expelled from one country and outcast in another. Rather than a divided process in pre- and post-deportation we see a spatial and temporal stretching of expulsion, from the condition of deportability in the host country to the “estranged citizenship” in the country of origin. Spatial and temporal stretching of abandonment from pre- to post-deportation push deportees into ‘transnational corridors of expulsion’. Financial hardship, facing discrimination in the labour and housing market, stigmatization, lack of access to social services and sometimes even protection, and cultural estrangement are usual difficulties deportees struggle with. This chapter deals with deportees’ lack of access to citizenship rights.
Shahram Khosravi
Chapter 2. Fieldnotes from Cape Verde: On Deported Youth, Research Methods, and Social Change
This chapter discusses important issues regarding post-deportation studies with respect to methods, positionality and social change. Drawing on preliminary fieldwork undertaken in Cape Verde in 2008, it reflects on what these data gathered long ago may suggest and where it may fit in the existing literature. It argues that when examining policies, experiences and interests in (post) deportation, scholars may want to consider how their research approach can mobilise change, or at the very least, how consistencies found across (post) deportation studies may be articulated in a more visible way. Given the political and ethical dimensions of border control and border research, it suggests that more space should be given to in-depth reflections of researchers’ positionality, approach and motivations in researching post-deportation.
Ines Hasselberg
Chapter 3. Starting Again: Life After Deportation from the UK
This chapter draws on testimonies of individuals who have been deported from the United Kingdom (UK) to identify what happens once migrants are forcibly returned to their so-called “home” or third countries. The narratives underscore the distressing nature of administrative removal and deportation and the challenges of starting one’s life again, particularly after having experienced often lengthy periods of immigration detention in the UK prior to expulsion. Returnees’ experiences speak to the difficulties of (re-)establishing oneself and the resilience needed to cope with the numerous losses―financial, occupational, familial, cultural―associated with their exclusion from the UK. The chapter highlights the particular challenges resulting from being deported directly from immigration detention as well as the ways in which informants have tried to (re)establish themselves and carry on.
Sarah Turnbull
Chapter 4. Helping Women Prepare for Removal: The Case of Jamaica
This chapter examines the experiences of a group women removed to Jamaica from the United Kingdom between 2003 and 2014. The research for this chapter took place over two months in Jamaica in 2015. Twenty-six women were interviewed and the majority of the interviews took place in Kingston. The women described precarious existences that were underwritten by perpetual deprivation. This chapter will provide a descriptive account of the lives of the women interviewed, placing it within literature on ‘preparedness’ in return migration. In particular it will compare the different trajectories of resettlement for women returning after a prison sentence, and those forcibly returned after overstaying their visa in the UK.
Alice Gerlach
Chapter 5. Back from “the Other Side”: The Post-deportee Life of Nigerian Migrant Sex Workers
The chapter sheds ethnographic light on the post-deportee phase among Nigerian sex-worker migrants. Scholars have previously pointed to the ways in which anti-trafficking efforts unwittingly support the deportation of migrant sex-workers under the guise of securing women’s protection. They further reveal how the interventions that take place in the name of protecting women migrants often complicate the women’s situation, or even work against their interests. The ethnographic fieldwork, on which this chapter is based, extends these insights by shedding light on the particular gendered aspects of this post-deportee phase of migratory trajectories, practices, and policies.
Sine Plambech
Chapter 6. Paying to Go: Deportability as Development
Financial incentives have been a key element of “voluntary” return schemes in Europe since French co-development policies in the 1970s. A new generation of return schemes has been introduced since the late 1990s targetting unrecognised asylum seekers or undocumented migrants, rather than legal residents. These schemes are brokered by the International Organisation for Migration, supposed to monitor the safety of returnees and manage post-return payments. This chapter is based on interviews with migrants whose return to Sri Lanka was financed under a UK scheme designed to offer further support once they returned. The chapter follows the range of return experiences of 50 migrants who returned between 2006 and the end of the conflict in Sri Lanka in 2009. Many took the opportunity to develop their own business, and the widespread failure and disillusionment of the migrants emphasises the problematic assumption that relatively small amounts of money are sufficient to encourage unwanted individuals back across borders.
Michael Collyer
Chapter 7. Deportees Lost at “Home”: Post-deportation Outcomes in Afghanistan
Afghan deportees are, in their own words, at a loss in negotiating their post-return lives, a common marker among deported migrants. In Afghanistan, the added danger is that deportees may find themselves in situations of greater threat than their lives represented before their migration, adding to their reasons to leave again. Through empirical research led in Afghanistan, this chapter discusses the psychosocial implications of deportation for men, unaccompanied minors, women, and families forcibly returned from Iran and interviewed in the immediate post-deportation phase. Findings are analysed through the prism of psychosocial wellbeing, and Cassarino’s emphasis on preparedness for sustainable returns. The methodology is based on a longitudinal research comparing data from 2008 to 2016 on deportation trends from Iran to Afghanistan (Samuel Hall in Deportations of Afghans from Iran: A Post-Deportation Protection Assessment, Afghanistan, 2017).
Nassim Majidi
Chapter 8. “My Whole Life is in the USA:” Dominican Deportees’ Experiences of Isolation, Precarity, and Resilience
This chapter analyses the experiences of isolation, precarity, and resilience of Dominican deportees. The context of reception of persons deported from the USA to Latin American and Caribbean countries is highly dependent on the cultural context and laws of each country. However, recent research has shown that deportees suffer isolation and stigmatisation that has clear effects on their social and labour market reintegration. This chapter, drawn from 46 interviews with Dominican deportees, explores how highly stigmatised individuals with minimal job experience find opportunities in the precarious and informal Dominican labour market. The ability of Dominican deportees to re-integrate is in part due to their ability to access the limited labour market opportunities, as well as through remittances from family members in the USA.
Tanya Golash-Boza, Yajaira Ceciliano Navarro
Chapter 9. Making It as a Deportee: Transnational Survival in the Dominican Republic
This chapter illuminates the life ways that take shape after long-term legal permanent residents convicted of crimes face deportation. Amid structural challenges, many deportees in the Dominican Republic nevertheless resolve to employ transnational survival strategies by working as tour guides and as call centre agents for outsourced US business. These former US residents neither settled in the USA by choice nor returned to their country of birth by choice, creating a scenario that complicates notions of “home.” These deportees face the repercussion of a sort of extended “liminal legality” in which legal permanent resident status turns out to be tenuous. Though rendered by state power unfit to live in their home, deportees assert their agency and create linkages between two conflicting notions of “home.”
Evin Rodkey
Chapter 10. Post-Deportation Movements: Forms and Conditions of the Struggle Amongst Self-Organising Expelled Migrants in Mali and Togo
This chapter draws a comparison between the Association Malienne des Expulsés (AME), created in 1996 in Bamako, Mali, a pioneering initiative in terms of self-organisation and mobilisation of deportees, and the Association Togolaise des Expulsés (ATE), created in 2008 in Sokodé, Togo, which has been deliberately following the footsteps of its Malian counterpart. Those associations help to turn the deportees into a public feature and to diffuse a political movement against deportation measures. However, they form a complex pattern; their capacities of mobilising depend on their national contexts. Since 1991 onwards, the democratisation process in Mali allowed marginalised populations to get their voices heard in the public space. At the same time, the failure of democratic transition in Togo hindered any form of public protest. The analysis is supporting the hypothesis that the possibilities and difficulties for deportees to organise collective action are revealing of the nature of political power, of the degree of organisation of civic life and of the forms of expression and gathering accepted within the State.
Clara Lecadet
Chapter 11. Ripples Across the Pacific: Cycles of Risk and Exclusion Following Criminal Deportation to Samoa
Viewed from a government perspective, the practice of deporting convicted non-citizens can be characterised as the exporting of risk. However, ethnographic research is increasingly identifying the risks of stigmatisation, discrimination and victimisation faced by deportees themselves, following return to their countries of citizenship. In this chapter, Weber and Powell use interviews conducted with deportees, law enforcement officials, and community organisations in Samoa, supplemented by UNESCO research on criminal deportation in the Pacific, to identify cycles of criminalisation and exclusion arising from criminal deportation from Australia, New Zealand, and the USA. They trace the initial construction of convicted non-citizens as unacceptable risks to community safety, and discuss the mechanisms by which these constructions are maintained and sometimes modified, transferred or magnified in the aftermath of forced returns.
Leanne Weber, Rebecca Powell
Chapter 12. “Non-admitted”: Migration-Related Detention of Forcibly Returned Citizens in Cameroon
This chapter analyses risks and vulnerabilities for forced returnees who usually fall under the radar, namely non-admitted travellers. Third-country nationals can be forcibly returned to “home countries” both after receiving removal orders after years of life and work abroad or after decisions of non-admission, which are issued immediately upon arrival at borders. Through the introduction of carrier sanctions, migration control now occurs ever more outside of the geographical space of the Schengen area and through a politics of non-entry (Hathaway and Gammeltoft Hansen 2015). As a result, boarding denials and decisions of non-admission have become important tools of migration control. This chapter explores why and how the criminalisation of migration is currently expanding towards non-migrants in the Global South. In recent years, Cameroon case law has seen the introduction of an offence entitled “attempting to emigrate illegally.” As a consequence, citizens risk criminal prosecution when their departure projects fail to respect the administrative entry requirements of countries in the Global North. The chapter is based on research conducted in Douala, Cameroon, in the form of discussions with control agents at the international airport, investigations at a prison, a review of related case law, police registers, and interviews with Cameroonian returnees (November 2013–January 2014, and February 2016). Based on this material, the chapter argues that return risks for non-admitted travellers are related to emerging collaboration practices between immi- and emigration countries.
Maybritt Jill Alpes
Chapter 13. Afterword. Deportation: The Last Word?
From the perspective of a deporting state power, deportation appears to be the final act, the proverbial last word. As ostensibly unwanted or undesirable non-citizens, the utter disposability of deportees appears to be finally and conclusively verified by deportation as a sovereign power’s exercise in virtual “waste removal;” a state’s perfunctory and mundane act of “taking out the trash.” Hence, it is no accident that, etymologically, the origins of the very word “deportation” would indicate a carrying away, a removal, a disposal. The eradication of deportees’ individual lives—their personal identities and life trajectories—emerges as a routine and prosaic fact of deportation. For their part, deportees readily liken the bitterness of their condition to “coming home to nothing,” and “being stuck” with “nowhere to go,” and indeed, oftentimes, with nothing to do, “trapped” in a place that feels “like a prison away from prison.” In spite of the sheer violence of the disjunctures and ruptures inflicted though deportation, however, ethnography confirms that those who have been rendered the objects of this power persistently re-assert their own subjectivity. Such ethnographic insights into the lived struggles of the deported (as well as their loved ones and communities) restore names and identities to those who have been subjected to deportation’s techniques of eradication, elucidates the enduring subjectivity of those who have been made the objects of such sovereign acts of state power, and illustrates the stubborn incorrigibility of human life against the myriad forces that would seek to enforce its precarity and disposability. In the post-deportation condition, we confront anew the elementary and elemental human freedom of movement, and the incorrigibility of the autonomy and subjectivity of migration. Much as the autonomy of migration instigates a contest in which state power never has the first word, what we may now conceive as the autonomy of deportation—an autonomy and subjectivity of the deported within and against their predicaments of deportation—similarly ensures that state power never has the last word, either.
Nicholas De Genova
After Deportation
Dr. Shahram Khosravi
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