There are no Angels in Calais : The impact of French migration policies on the migrants of Calais

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Calais, where France almost touches Great-Britain, is one of the many spots in Europe where immigration is highly visible. Because of its location, it has been an important knot for immigrants trying to reach the United Kingdom. In September 2009 a large improvised camp near the city (called La Jungle), in which hundreds of migrants resided, was destroyed by the French police. In that time it generated a lot of attention, both positive and negative. Now that we are more than a year further, it is time to make up the account. Has the dismantlement been successful? And what are the consequences of the attempt to diminish immigration for the individual migrant? In the underlying case study, these questions will be clarified. Although this will result in a picture of the situation in Calais in specific, it can (and should) be seen as a test to immigration policies in Europe in general. I will argue that diverse processes are taking place which are a genuine threat to the immigrant. Dehumanization, criminalization and exploitation are visible in Calais, and without a doubt throughout the rest of Europe as well. Ultimately I will suggest that this is the price to be paid if countries wish to think in terms of people who are ‘welcome’ and who are ‘unwelcome’. Illegalizing people is at the basis of the identified problems.
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