Trump of the 20th century. The second part

Trump executive order
banning, legal migrants, and even normal transport from seven Muslim countries
for reasons attributed to national security. (!)


This paper will examine the
securitization of immigration in the European context and specifically the
implications of securitization of immigration in the context of the current
refugee crisis emanating from the conflict Syria.

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The first
section will examine the process of securitization within the European context
in the second half of the 20th century.

The second part will look at implications such as
racism and fear.

The third part will examine
how the current EU policies are paradoxical to its very nature as an
institution in governance. 


The Copenhagen School of
Security Studies is the label given to the research of various academics
centered around the work of Barry Buzan Ole Waever and Jaap de Wilde. These
authors used a constructivists approach and researched the development of
security agendas and operations during the 1990s in Europe, this resulted in
1998 in the book Security: A New
Framework for Analysis.1  In their work these academics have focused on
the actors and factors that contributed to securitization: “the process whereby
a securitizing actor defines a particular issue or actor as an ‘existential
threat’ to a particular referent object and this move is accepted by a relevant
audience.” Two other central concepts to the Copenhagen School are  regional
security complex,  “a set of units in
a particular geographical are whose security processes and dynamics are
interlinked to the extent that their security problems need to be understood or
addressed in conjunction with each other,” and security sectors, “fields of activity or arenas (military,
societal, political, economic and environmental) that entail particular forms
of security interactions and particular definitions of referent objects.”2
Karyotis page 3 Copenhagen School

Copenhagen School’s theory of securitization will be used in this essay to
research the process of securitization of immigration in the European context
in the second half of the 20th century and the first two decades of
the 21st century, furthermore it will bring some implications to the
surface most notably racism, politics of fear, and some paradoxical policies by
the EU which will be examined in the subsequent parts.  


Migration as a security threat in the European Union

To trace
back the process of securitization of migration  This analyses starts with recognizing that
there exists a great contrast in societal sentiments vis-à-vis migrants in
earlier parts of European history in comparison to the sentiments that surfaced
so vividly in European politics in the wake of the Syrian Refugee Crisis and
where a central theme in the multiple European elections of 2017.

example, a hundred years earlier when the United Kingdom and the Netherlands
witnessed a high influx of Belgium refugees as a consequence of the German
invasion Belgium. In the UK the 250.00 refugees were welcomed with tea and
cake, and the million refugees that fled to the Netherlands were met with
sympathy and solidarity as the Dutch government responded chaotic but with good
intent and spurred Dutch citizens successfully to take at least one Belgian
citizen in their homes. Eventually complaints about the refugees arose but
their presence was never framed as a threat to national security or public

In the
years after the WOII as the Marshal Plans were implemented to rebuild European
economies some states, most notably Germany, France and the Netherlands were in
desperate need of a cheap and flexible workforce and thus operated permissive
and promotional policies to strengthen their labor forces and illegal
immigrants were mostly tolerated because it made this new workforce even more
flexible and exploitable.3 This
is another sharp contrast with present times were fears about the economic
security in the form of access to jobs dominate discourses of European citizens
and  illegal immigration is used to
legitimize the formation of more restrictive outside borders and surveillance.4

the last two decades of the twentieth century were critical in the
securitization of immigration in Europe, as these decades were marked by
increasing effects of globalization through the fragmentation of the Soviet
Union and Yugoslavia, the accelerations in the growth of the EU and the
creation of the Schengen Area, and further 
enhancement of transnational flows of capital, goods, and people through
the deterritorialization of markets under trade agreements and closer
relationships within the EU.5

Ceyhan and
Tsoukala, Karyotis, and Huysmans all researched the politicization and
securitization of migrants in Western discourses  during these years and examined how these
processes served as the legitimizing factors for tighter border controls, and
increasingly restrictive measures that curb the rights of migrants and most
especially third-country nationals.

All authors
roughly discern the following four main axes that the politicization and
securitization of migrants revolves around; the economic axis, the societal
axis, the political axis, and the internal security axis. Copenhagen School
sheds light on how these axis operate and interact.  

to the Copenhagen School, security is something objective rather than
universal, threats are thus constructed as such in relation to how a society
perceives itself.6
 This idea is especially apparent in a
‘threat’ such as migration because it cannot be considered a threat emanating
from a rival state with the aim to undermine the workings of one’s own state or
coerce it into compliance. According to the Copenhagen School, the
securitization of immigration primarily revolves around the societal axis.
Waever argues that societal security in general “concerns the ability of a
society to persist in its essential character under changing conditions and
possible or actual threats”.7
The problem or threat posed by migrants in relation to the security of a
society is considered a threat to its essential character, its cultural, or
linguistic homogeneity and communal order. Here the populations in the host
country fear that migrants are a threat the unique features that discern a
society from others or to its national identity and demographic equilibrium.

concerns associated with the economic axis portray anxieties over threats to
the socioeconomic equilibrium. Often the migrants are associated with
‘stealing’ jobs


The Securitization of Migration and the Politics of Fear

A salient feature with
regards to the politicization and securitization of migration is the
discernable role emotions play in discussion on the perceived threat of migrants.
In her article  Institutionalizing
Passion in World Politics: Fear and Empathy Crawford focuses on
the lack attention emotions like fear and empathy receive in International
Relations as an academic discipline.8
On the same note Aradau argues that International Relation theory never
considers “emotional models that drive political interventions and strategies
of governance.”9 However, when one closer
examines the sentiments that dominate the discourses on security and migration
one must conclude that the emotional expression of fear  is very present.

            These politics of fear
are specifically present in the European political arena on the security and
migration debate, but recently have also entered discourses in the US,
particularly since the Trump Administration took office. With regards to these
politics dominated by fears Ceyhan and Tsoukala argue that “western societies
are witnessing the emergence of many existential and conceptual anxieties and
fears about their identity, security, and well-being” and due to “it
transnational character, its dynamic, 
and its impact on people and institutions at all levels, migration is
perceived as posing a serious challenge to the long-standing paradigms of certainty
and order.” Subsequently , one can argue that discourses of fear and the
proliferation of dangers regarding societal disorder and chaos can easily be
high jacked by political actors and government institutions that are seeking to
manipulate actions and attitudes of citizens toward migrants.

            According to the
Copenhagen School the concept of securitization begins of the discursive
construction of a threat. This is described as the process where political and
security elites use their capacity to define a particular issue as or actor as
an existential threat, the acceptance as such by the target audience enables
politicians or the government to suspend normal politics and invoke emergency
or security measures. This performative act of articulation of a threat as an
existential  is referred to in the
Copenhagen School as the “speech act”. Thus securitization of migration is the
process through which migration is articulated and accepted as an security
issue, this means that the threat, in this case migration,   poses an objective or existential threat but
because it is identified as such. “Speech acts” therefore can be considered
as  one of the catalysts for the
construction of a discourse of fear and proliferation of dangers.

            With this in mind, one
has to consider the correlation between fear, and the perceived perception and
the persuasive nature of politics and how it influences has led to a perceived
notion of personal fear, for people who live in countries with large migrant
population. Based on personal factors such as one’s physical features and other
social factors, the anxieties, angst and behavioral practices are tangible and
real. It can influence one’s behavior and how they react in everyday life to
their surroundings. Its cause can be summed up in one world: fear. The personal
fear that some people have concerning perceived danger seem to focus mainly on
migrants from varying racial ethnic groups. There is a vast difference between
the general perceptions of fear, and reality. Fear is the result of the
assessment of personal vulnerability to victimization. Aware of this,
politicians have politicized its citizens through fear into believing that they
are the victims and are being victimized from the upsurge of migrants who
supposedly are the cause of their ills and drawbacks.











1 Buzan,
Wæver, Wilde, and Wæver, Ole. Security : A New Framework for
Analysis. Boulder CO etc.: (Lynne Rienner, 1998)

2 Williams, and Williams,
Paul. Security Studies : An Introduction. 2ndcomprehensively
Rev. ed. London etc.: (Routledge, 2013), p. 73

3 Huysmans, J. (2000) “The
European Union and the Securitization of Migration,” Journal of Common
Market Studies, 38:5, pp 753-754.

Karyotis, Georgios (2007) ‘European Migration Policy in the Aftermath of
September 11’, Innovation: The European
Journal of Social Science Research, 20:1, 1-17

5 Ceyhan, A. and Tsoukala, A. (2002) “The
Securitization of Migration in Western Societies:

Ambivalent Discourses and
Policies,” Alternatives, 27:1, pp. 21


7 Waever et al 1993

8Crawford, N.C. (2014)
“Institutionalizing passion in world politics: fear and empathy,” International
Theory, 6:3, pp. 535-557

C. (2004) “The Perverse Politics of Four-Letter Words: Risk and Pity in the

of Human Trafficking,” Millenium: Journal of International Studies,
33:2, pp. 255