How Effective Are Borders in Keeping People out?

How Effective Are Borders in Keeping People out?


2015 was the year we saw borders return to the European Union. Not just physical borders: Britain’s decision to leave the EU was partly driven by the desire to reduce migration and will likely result in imposed restrictions on mobility.

However, borders and visas do not always have their intended effect, argues Hein de Haas, renowned migration researcher and Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam.

In this episode, Hein provides some interesting case studies that complicate the predominant perception of how borders stop movement.

Recommended Reading

Hein’s blog post on the inability of European governments to act together to regulate a shared border system, and another post where Hein describes the effect of visas, linking to original research.

A key part of Europe’s border is its coast guard. Watch this short documentary on the Italian effort to save the lives of those making the crossing.

A journalistic investigation into the human and financial cost of 15 years of “Fortress Europe”.

A report on the costs of Europe’s border industry from the UK’s Overseas Development Institute, arguing that Europe must shift from an emphasis on deterring migration towards a pragmatic approach to manage it better.

What do we know about circular migration? A report from the Migration Policy Institute.

Check out this episode from our other course, Six Impossible Ideas (after Brexit), where Oxford anthropologist Ruben Andersson tells us his view on the border control industry and offers picks for further reading.

Share this episode!

Hein de Hass

Hein de Haas

Hein is Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam. He was a founding member and director of the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford. He is a co-author of The Age of Migration, a leading textbook in the field of migration. You can find more information and free downloads of his publications on his website. He also maintains a blog – we recommend this entry titled “Human migration: myths, hysteria and facts” and this one on migration and climate change.