Illegal Migration: Personal Tragedies, Social Problems, or National Security Threats?

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Transnational Organized Crime. Volume 3, Issue 4 (1997), p. 11-41.


The author discusses the contextual issues, which include political, economic, and social environments, the motivations of the illegal migrating populations and other non-illegal migrant groups; and the identity of those who exploit and/or are serviced by the illegal migrants. The paper discusses illegal migration within the wider debate over "security threats" that result as a consequence of transnational crimes. The paper questions whether illegal migration should be viewed and responded to as a security threat. It identifies the complicity of diverse interest groups in the immigration "problem." The author argues that efforts to "correct" these problems must acknowledge the complicity of others and will call in most cases for a humanitarian rather than a military response. This paper discusses the buying ad selling of citizenship, categories of migrants, support systems for illegal migrants, the exploitation of women in the transport of migrants, and the involvement of organized crime in illegal migration. The paper concludes that although the movement of illegal aliens is an essential concern and must be part of a policy and enforcement approach, there are other issues that must be addressed, particularly the exploitation of legal and illegal migrants as a commodity, the targeting of profiteers and state policies that fuel the migration market, and limitation of the flow of illegal migration

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