Tuesday, September 15, 2015

My Publication Makes High Impact On European Immigration Policy

By Biko Agozino

I am not on an ego trip when I suspect that my 2006 publication in the African Journal of Criminology and Justice Studies which I edit for the African Criminology and Justice Association may have tipped members of the European Community to adopt some of my urgent recommendations in response to the current immigration crisis (Photo, my participation in a May Day Rally for refugees in Glasgow, Scotland, 1992, while a graduate student in Edinburgh University).

I forwarded the paper to the European Commission on September 3 and they acknowledged receipt the same day and stated that the paper had been forwarded to their services as the following correspondence shows:

“Dear Mr Agozino,
Thank you for contacting us.
Thank you for your message and for sharing your opinion with us. We hereby confirm that your message has been forwarded to the services of the European Commission for information purposes.
We hope you find this information useful. Please contact us again if you have other questions.
With kind regards,
EUROPE DIRECT Contact Centre
- your shortcut to the EU!
The General Report on the Activities of the European Union in 2014 is now available. It gives an account of the EU's major initiatives and achievements of the past year.
If you would like to know more please click here: http://europa.eu/publications/reports-booklets/general-report/index_en.htm
EUROPE DIRECT is the general information service of the EU. Please note that the information provided by EUROPE DIRECT is not legally binding.

Date: Thursday, 03/09/2015 19:08:13
From: "Biko Agozino" <bagozino@gmail.com>
Subject: [Case_ID: 1093134 / 6543762] Mass Deaths at Fortress Europe
As we watch the tragedy of mass death among immigrants determined to enter fortress Europe, here are some ideas for possible solution from my personal experience and from social theory: http://www.umes.edu/cms300uploadedFiles/AJCJS/VoL2Issue1Edito

Two days later, on Saturday, September 5, Germany and Austria dramatically altered their policies by opening their borders with Hungary and letting in thousands of immigrants. France, which had been following the Fortress Europe policy of securing the borders, dramatically changed and offered to accept tens of thousands of immigrants. The UK which is not even part of the open borders policy joined by promising to take in 20,000 immigrants in 5 years. The EU President announced plans on September 9 to share 160,000 immigrants among the members of the EU but the foreign ministers are yet to agree on the formula for sharing the immigrants. The US came out with a pledge to resettle 8,000 more asylum seekers in the next year compared to 1,500 so far. One week after I sent the paper to the EU, the European Commissioner for Immigration, Dimitri Avramopulos, finally echoed my conclusion that the US policy on immigration is a good model for Europe to replicate:

“Everybody in Europe were caught by surprise. We could never imagine some years ago that we would be confronted with this crisis, and our systems were not well prepared. That's why I told you before that even the European Union did not have a comprehensive migration policy. Now we have it, and I can tell you that one of the models we would like to adopt in the future is the American immigration system. For me, it is one of the best in the world.”

I doubt that this is a coincidence given that the time-line for EU policies indicate a correlation (not necessarily a causation) between the timing of my forwarded paper and the dramatic tipping point in EU policies as shown in a statement from the EU president on September 14:

“The European Commission has been consistently and continuously working for a coordinated European response on the refugees and migration front:
“On 23 April 2014, in Malta, Jean-Claude Juncker presented a five point plan on immigration, calling for more solidarity in the EU's migration policy as part of his campaign to become European Commission President.
“Based on a proposal by the European Commission, in a European Council statement of 23 April 2015, Member States committed to taking rapid action to save lives and to step up EU action in the field of migration. A European Parliament Resolution followed a few days later.
“On 13 May 2015, the European Commission presented its European Agenda on Migration, setting out a comprehensive approach for improving the management of migration in all its aspects.
“On 27 May 2015, the European Commission already came forward with a first package of implementing measures of the European Agenda on Migration, including relocation and resettlement proposals, and an EU Action plan against migrant smugglers.
“On 25-26 June 2015, the European Council agreed to move forward on the proposals made by the European Commission in the European Agenda on Migration, focusing on relocation and resettlement, returns and cooperation with countries of origin and transit.
“On 20 July 2015, the Justice and Home Affairs Council agreed to implement the measures as proposed in the European Agenda on Migration, notably to relocate people in clear need of international protection from Italy and Greece over the next two years, starting with 32,256 in a first step, and to resettle 22,504 displaced persons in clear need of international protection from outside the EU.
“On 9 September 2015, the Commission proposed a new set of measures, including an emergency relocation mechanism for 120,000 refugees, as well as concrete tools to assist Member States in processing applications, returning economic migrants, and tackling the root causes of the refugee crisis.
“At today's Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council, the Commission was represented by First Vice-President Frans Timmermans and Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos, in charge of Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship. The High Representative Federica Mogherini also attended the meeting.”

It may all be a coincidence but I am not bragging when I say that I hope that my publication has helped to produce this dramatic impact on policy. If so, I hope that African states, Europe and the United States will follow up by addressing the other policy recommendations in my paper. This may contribute to the validation of the scholar-activism paradigm privileged in Africana Studies and in Liberation Sociology.

Dr. Agozino is a Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies at Virginia Tech agozino@vt.edu

No comments: