Border and Migration Controls and Migrant Precarity in the Context of Climate Change




Bates-Eamer, Nicole

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Social Sciences


Climate change impacts natural and human systems, including migration patterns. But isolating climate change as the driver of migration oversimplifies a complex and multicausal phenomenon. This article brings together the literature on global migration and displacement, environmental migration, vulnerability and precarity, and borders and migration governance to examine the ways in which climate-induced migrants experience precarity in transit. Specifically, it assesses the literature on the ways in which states create or amplify precarity in multiple ways: through the use of categories, by externalizing borders, and through investments in border infrastructures. Overall, the paper suggests that given the shift from governance regimes purportedly based on protection and facilitation to regimes based on security, deterrence, and enforcement, borders are complicit in producing and amplifying the vulnerability of migrants. The phenomenon of climate migration is particularly explicative in demonstrating how these regimes, which categorize individuals based on why they move, are and will continue to be unable to manage future migration flows.



climate change, environmental migration, border controls, migration policy, precarity