- Between ‘voluntary’ return programs and soft deportation
- Sending vulnerable migrants in Spain back ‘home’
- Book title
- Return Migration and Psychosocial Wellbeing
- Book subtitle
- Discourses, Policy-Making and Outcomes for Migrants and Their Families
- Pages (from-to)
- Abingdon: Routledge
- ISBN (electronic)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
This chapter, focuses on Spain as a case study, draws attention to two cunning elements that are characteristic to programs of assisted voluntary return (AVR) across Europe: first, the very classification of these programs as being based in the voluntarism of the migrants; second, the implicit formulation with respect to a return of migrants to their ‘home’ (country). At first instance, the chapter demonstrates that these two guileful elements are problematical in their claims and manipulative in their formulation. Yet, the greater goal of the chapter is to argue that the couching of migrants’ assisted return in the language of voluntarism, patterned on positive notions of ‘home’, reveals the deeper neo-liberal ideological underpinnings of such programs as part of the ‘migration apparatus’ (Feldman 2012). Accordingly, I contend that so-called ‘voluntary return programs’ are based on the exact same logic that champions state sovereignty in justifying forced removals and violent deportations. I thus coin ‘soft deportation’ as a more appropriate term for referring to such programs, which are, de facto, an integral part of the overall bio-political scheme that absolves the territorial removal of illegalized subjects under state sovereignty.
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