Migration management for the benefit of whom? Interrogating the work of the International Organization for Migration

This paper examines the relationship between the nation-state and migration through the activities of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The IOM operates at the intersection of nation-states, international human rights regimes, and neo-liberal governance. We find that the IOM enforces the exclusions of asylum seekers and maintains the central role of nation-states in ordering global flows of migration. In addition, we argue that the IOM acts on behalf of nation-states by using the language of international human rights, as though working in the interests of migrants and refugees. In providing a geographic appraisal of the IOM alongside its image and presentation with an analysis of its activities on voluntary returns, we address the new spaces of ‘networked’ governance that control and order migratory flows in the interests of nation-states.

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