Irregular immigration and the European Union border control policies: Personal experiences of asylum seekers in the Trampoline House (Copenhagen, Denmark) with the EU border regimes and the Danish asylum system.
The current qualitative research is focused on the irregular asylum immigration into the European Union (EU) within a context of securitization practices. The case study is the Trampoline House - a small NGO in Copenhagen, Denmark that aims to facilitate a wider public dialogue within the field of asylum immigration. Adopting an ethnographic approach (in-depth interviews and participant observation, I tried to reveal the complexity of asylum migration in the light of restrictive immigration regimes and shed light on the shortcomings of the Danish asylum system that is considered among the fair ones in Europe. The asylum seekers’ personal meaning-making process is of crucial importance, especially in the interdisciplinary field of international migration. The thesis argues that because of the ongoing attempts to restrict the legal options for people fleeing conflict zones to seek international protection, labeling asylum seekers “illegal” contributes to their further criminalization and/or victimization. Therefore the term “irregular” was employed in the current research. The Results section is organized into three thematic parts. In the first one, attention is paid to what Carling (2002) calls “the aspiration-ability” model, i.e. the desire to migrate and the ability to fulfill this wish. That includes, among others, choice and coercion in the decision-making process and financing and organizing “the trip” to Europe. The second part reveals interesting details about informants’ personal experiences with the EU border control regimes and their evaluation on the matter of the overall difficulty to enter EU. The third part is focused on the ways asylum seekers are experiencing and evaluating the Danish asylum system. Interesting are the reflections of the informants on the question of staying underground. Thesis concludes that the recent European immigration restriction policies have created a profitable international business for people smugglers and that the expensive surveillance technologies and better trained police officers at the external borders have little to no success in preventing people to enter the EU.