Learning from the US: governance of asylum seeking in federal Europe

Authors: Jeroen Doomernik*, University of Amsterdam
Topics: Europe, Political Geography, Migration
Keywords: Europe Asylum Refugees Governance Scales
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Virginia A, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The future of the European Union's governance structure is only vaguely defined as heading towards 'an ever closer union'. Some argue this to merely refer to the internal free market whereas others consider a federal state to be the ideal end station for Europe. At the same time, in some areas the EU already starts to resemble a federal state, e.g. in the field of migration and asylum. The latter is entirely governed by European Law (the Common European Asylum System) which the member states execute, some in a centralised manner, others by devolving certain or all mandates to lower levels of governance. On the level of the member states, this collaboration is (still) seriously hampered by collective action problems in general and the refusal of accepting any responsibility at all by some member states. This paper aims to compare the current federalisation of asylum and migration in Europe with experiences from the USA. The comparison is between asylum governance in Europe and that of unauthorised migrants in the US. Even though formally speaking such comparison is difficult, the two categories of migrants have in common that they often cause political and societal discomfort, and does so on different and varying scales and involving considerable civil society participation. Ultimately, the question the paper seeks to answer is whether the American experience with the federal governance of "migration" can offer perspectives on the future of Europe's joint governance of asylum seeking and refugee protection.

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