Human smuggling and the Canadian state

This paper argues that states have undergone a shift in how they see and respond to human smuggling. They are now less bound by those land borders that once demarcated the edges of sovereign territory and act more transnationally in response to the transnational practices of human smugglers. The interception of four cargo boats carrying migrants smuggled from Fujian, China, serves as a case study. Central to understanding the struggle between smugglers and States are geography and vision: how each sees the landscape, plays on distance and proximity, and puts geography to work. After explaining the methodology, I locate Canada in the global industries of human smuggling and border enforcement, outline changes to border enforcement that have taken place in the time since these interceptions, and then discuss the main challenges facing nation-states in their efforts to combat smuggling. The paper then outlines strategies available to curb smuggling and explores some of Canada’s particular efforts. I conclude with policy recommendations

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