Work in Progress

Here is what our team has been getting up to in recent months…

  • Mike and Christina are working on a paper building on the project’s archival phase, which examines why UK policymakers in the 1960s adopted policies ostensibly to limit “evasion of the controls,” which they knew had little chance of advancing their goal of reducing immigration. They are employing this case to help show what light a detailed, process-tracing account can shed on the question of why policymakers choose to enact symbolic policies in the area of irregular immigration.
  • Elisabeth has been developing an article about the remarkable database that the German state uses to keep track of and manage foreigners (the Ausländerzentralregister, AZR).
  • For the 1970s, Sara has been gathering a lot of archival data on the emergence of the “trafficking of labour force” issue. She’s working on the relationship between employment and the emergence of “illegal” immigration as a problem in French immigration policy. She is interested in the adoption of the first legislations that draw direct linkage between illegal work and undocumented immigration in the 1970s. She is also interested in the development of administrative means to tackle this issue: the reinforcement of the labour inspection department at the same period and the creation of an interdepartmental taskforce to fight against trafficking of labour force”. She plans to write an article on this issue.
  • For the 1990s, Sara’s empirical data collection is still going on. She is organising interviews with civil servants who were working in the 1990s in relation to immigration issues. The main focus of the research for this period has not been determined yet. Various issues might be further developed, but one event appears already of specific interest: the exceptional regularisation procedure decided in 1997 by Jean-Pierre Chevènement.
  • Elisabeth, Mike and Sara have been discussing comparative issues that could be developed. The systematic association between “illegal” immigration and the asylum system is one of these issues that are currently explored. Another matter of interest is the link between migrants’ access to health care and monitoring of illegal immigration.
  • Emile and Christina have been thinking through some of the more conceptual aspects of the project. In particular, they are interested in trying to identify to specific historical contexts and conditions that led to the emergence of “illegal” immigration in France and Britain. The hope is that they will be able to develop one or two articles on this question.

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