Clandestine migration in Europe

The concept of clandestine or illegal migration dates back to the 1930s but only

became prominent during the 1980s and 1990s. It is an umbrella term that refers to a

complex set of conditions and embraces various patterns. Instead of applying the conventional

but crude legal/illegal dichotomy this article suggests a fine-tuned analysis of clandestine

migration on a scale between the two poles. This contribution surveys the state of the art and

discusses various approaches in clandestine migration research; it aims at clarifying as yet

blurred definitions, discusses often problematical quantitative aspects, and gives an overview

of various major patterns in clandestine migration. Finally, in reflecting on the specific

conditions that determine clandestine migration, it argues that this phenomenon is a social

construct of the 21st century

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