Research on migration often focuses on how easily people integrate into new host societies or on changes in socioeconomic status and living conditions between the country of origin and country of destination. In contrast, there has been little consideration of zones of transit and transition between country of origin and final destination; that is, the remote and often tumultuous sites migrants travel to and through on their journeys to new locations.
This project examines these journeys between states. The researchers are tackling this understudied issue by investigating islands as particular sites where struggles over migration, asylum, and sovereignty transpire and where federal mandates of national security and refugee protection intersect. Islands are often sites where jurisdiction, political status, and legal status intersect in complex ways. The research questions ask why particular islands become sites of migration management, how migrants arrive on islands, and what legal issues ensue. Qualitative and quantitative methods have been used to collect data on American, Australian, and European islands that are sites of migration entry and processing. The resulting data will be used to map offshore efforts to enter sovereign territory and corresponding enforcement practices.
Research findings will advance knowledge on global migration and contribute to contemporary debates about immigration, border enforcement, and asylum policies. The project will offer new ways of understanding what happens to global migration on their journeys between states, including the role of interception at sea, detention on islands, and human rights issues.
For more information on the Island Detention Project please contact Dr. Alison Mountz at [email protected].
Map of Island Detention Sites: A composite map that shows a number of sites where asylum-seekers are detained. Some are field sites on the project, others are sites of interest which the project follows. Courtesy of Syracuse Cartography Lab.