Ruben Hernandez Leon – The migration industry: charting the relations of facilitators, control and rescue actors in international migration

Ruben Hernandez Leon – University of California, Los Angeles, USA
In this presentation I argue that the migration industry plays a more significant role in structuring human mobility across borders than has been acknowledged by most theories of international migration. I first identify three forms of the migration industry: classic migration facilitators, the booming industry of migration control, and the so-called rescue industry. I then use Zolberg’s “Strange Bedfellows of American Immigration Politics,” a theoretical construct which explains the unusual alliances different actors establish in the field of immigration, to chart the location and relations of the migration industry with these actors. Finally, I account for the movement of actors across various divides (the profit/not-for-profit boundary, facilitation versus control, and the pro and anti-immigrant divide), demonstrating how these actors establish regular connections by means of multiple bridges and overlapping infrastructures.

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