Turning refugees into ‘illegal migrants’: Afghan asylum seekers in Europe

Each year refugees transit southern EU Member States where in theory they should claim asylum but where in reality they have little chance of being able to make a claim, and almost no chance of having it examined properly, much less being actually granted asylum. This paper argues that the current EU regime turns some refugees into undocumented migrants – ‘illegal migrants’ in political and public discourse – and shields EU Member States from their international legal obligations. The article illustrates the effect of EU asylum policy through a case study of a group of young Afghan men in Paris.

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