Irregular Migration at Two Borders: The Turkish-EU and Mexican-U.S. Cases
There are three aims of this brief synopsis. First, it demonstrates that the Mexico-U.S. and Turkey-EU borders-the two international borders with substantial flows of irregular migration-can be analyzed and compared via two interrelated aspects of the recent politicization of the international migration systems: securitization and economization. While both aspects are relevant in both contexts, the weight of their significance differs from one context to the other with securitization dominating the Turkey-EU irregular migration debate and economization dictating the agenda in the Mexico-U.S. context.
Second, it shows that there is a lot of variance in perceptions of irregular migration. The main debate revolves around the security-versus-human rights tradeoff: while the policy world emphasizes mostly the security aspects of irregular migration, with a focus on border protection, terrorism, and criminal networks, academia and civil society highlight the fact that there are basic human rights that even the irregular migrants are entitled to. This latter group focuses on the problems faced by migrants, regarding them less as criminals and more as humans with basic survival needs.
Third, it provides an overview of the research problems related to the issue of irregular migration. The difficulty in the Turkey-EU context can be characterized mostly as a problem of data gathering: policymakers and implementers do not often share their data with academics, which creates a dearth of inaccurate research findings on the issue. In the Mexico-U.S. case, however, the problem seems to be the opposite. Numerous and conflicting research findings, especially in economic arenas, make it possible for different groups to select whichever studies suit their own interests.