This talk explains how the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration expands international cooperation on travel security on the global level in a way that complements and extends transregional, transatlantic and EU cooperation on border control and furthers a recent trend of states “pushing borders out,” primarily through leveraging new technologies and data collection to screen incoming travelers and cargo well before arrival.  Extraterritorial border controls began with the stationing of US immigration inspectors abroad and other US immigration control measures of the 19th Century, however, after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the US dramatically increased data collection requirements for incoming travelers and cargo in order to more effectively target inspections.  Many countries quickly followed suit. The approach of pushing border control activities outside of a state’s territory effectively turns border control into a set of transnational border practices analogous to the globalization of production whereby a firm’s manufacturing activities are moved abroad. A state may unilaterally push its borders out through electronic data collection but this globalization of a state’s border controls is limited to the kinds of data that states can unilaterally collect from inbound travellers and airlines.  Cooperation among states to verify traveler identities and share traveler data dramatically increases the amount and quality of data available for analysis, and, thereby, improves the efficacy of all the cooperating states’ inspection processes.  The 2018 UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration is comprised of 23 objectives, each of which contains one or more commitments. Eight of the Compact’s objectives are directly related to security and many of actions recommended to realize corresponding commitments to improve travel document security, collect and share traveler data and cooperate on border enforcement enable states to better screen incoming travelers before they arrive at ports of entry and, thereby, further the globalization of border controls. Given that the Global Compact reaffirms state sovereignty over immigration policy and the agreement is non-binding, it actually gives states an opportunity to pursue intensified international cooperation to secure borders while simultaneously failing to take actions to improve the conditions of migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees.  Depending on implementation, the actual consequences of the Compact may vary greatly and lead to unanticipated outcomes, including possible adverse consequences for the protection of those with well-founded fears of persecution.  

 

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