Workshop: Policing Immigration: Criminalisation of migration, discrimination and fundamental rights

Conveners: Aino Korvensyrjä,, University of Helsinki; Jukka Könönen,, Tampere University

Recent tendencies in the global North, such as the criminalisation of migration, increased security concerns, and neoliberal welfare policies, have been analysed in the frameworks of the penal state (Wacquant), the government of precarity (Fassin) or a new neoliberal culture of crime control (Garland). These critical approaches highlight the proliferated forms of policing in the current multi-ethnic and multiracial European societies. Research on racism, ethnic relations and international migration is increasingly taking interest in the role of the police, crime and regulation of policing powers.

At least three themes are relevant regarding the nexus of policing and immigration:

Firstly, criminological and sociological studies have linked racial and ethnic profiling to racist attitudes of the police officers, unconscious bias, characteristics of the work culture of the police such as the widespread use of stereotyping, or to patterns of interaction between police officers and members of racialised minorities. Others have highlighted the effect of structural racism in the global North reflected not only in practices but also laws and policies regulating policing. How is the ethnic and racial discrimination at work in policing to be understood?

Secondly, the discussion on the criminalization of migration has highlighted the increasing role of the police in the implementation of immigration law, the merging of immigration control and criminal law, and the increased linkage between crime, race/ethnicity and immigration in public debates. Which effects do these developments have for the access to fundamental rights of migrants?

Thirdly, in the Nordic societies the police have been given certain tasks related to promoting ethnic equality and integration through such practices such as community policing or prevention of hate crimes. Do police have capabilities, competence and resources to successfully deal with the demands?

The working group welcomes theoretical, empirical and methodological papers related to policing and race, the role of the police in immigration control, and the mixing of crime and immigration control. Besides policing as its usually understood, presentations can also address, for example, policing conducted by security guards, border guards or intelligence services. We also welcome presentations that concern connections between immigration control, racism and other parts of criminal justice system.