The borders of the European union and the processes of criminalization of migrants

Authored by: Dario Melossi

The Routledge Handbook of European Criminology

Print publication date:  July  2013
Online publication date:  August  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415685849
eBook ISBN: 9780203083505
Adobe ISBN: 9781136185496


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The over-representation of migrants in the European criminal justice systems is a well-established fact. Processes of criminalization seem to be inherently tied to immigration policies oriented toward exclusion, given also the strict connection between the lack of regular legal status and such processes. In this chapter I claim, and shall try to show, that the question of Europe as a ‘land of immigration’ is paramount in order to contrast the criminalization of immigrants. Moreover, I would also like to ask, how could the intense and complex public debate necessary in order to make the EU a ‘land of immigration’ take place, if there is no common, democratic European ‘public sphere’, no access to an intra-European genuine political debate? Such a deficiency is largely connected to the lack of a European common sphere of social and public interaction, an issue which is in part attributable to, and in part revealed by, the lack of a common language (a want that the wishful thinking of a small cosmopolitan European leadership will not be enough to remedy).

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