The Covid-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for bordering and to further securitise migration policy. New border controls have been introduced, stringent new international regulations applied, hundreds of thousands of flights have been cancelled, resulting in millions of travellers – including migrant workers and transnational commuters – being stranded. Among the areas affected by these bordering and re-bordering practices is the central Mediterranean migratory route to Italy. In spring 2020, the Italian government introduced two measures aimed to block arrivals by sea: the closure of ports to search and rescue (SAR) operations and the use of vessels to quarantine migrants arriving on SAR ships. While the former was only partially implemented and then lifted in the summer, the latter, though presented as an emergency measure, has become a cornerstone of current securitisation policies. This article – relying on 27 semi-structured and open-ended interviews with activists, NGO volunteers, human rights lawyers, journalists and members of parliament, within the framework of the literature on bordering – interrogates the use of quarantine vessels during the pandemic as a means of stopping the spread of Covid-19 by irregular migrants arriving along the central Mediterranean route. We will see how this measure, presented as a humanitarian mission to preserve public health, has been an opportunity to tighten and securitise national and EU borders, and how quarantine vessels have been turned into hotspot-like spaces of bordering aimed at the filtering and containment of arriving migrants.

Le navi quarantena come hotspot galleggianti: il Covid-19 e la securizzazione delle politiche migratorie

Nicola Montagna
2023-01-01

Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic presented an opportunity for bordering and to further securitise migration policy. New border controls have been introduced, stringent new international regulations applied, hundreds of thousands of flights have been cancelled, resulting in millions of travellers – including migrant workers and transnational commuters – being stranded. Among the areas affected by these bordering and re-bordering practices is the central Mediterranean migratory route to Italy. In spring 2020, the Italian government introduced two measures aimed to block arrivals by sea: the closure of ports to search and rescue (SAR) operations and the use of vessels to quarantine migrants arriving on SAR ships. While the former was only partially implemented and then lifted in the summer, the latter, though presented as an emergency measure, has become a cornerstone of current securitisation policies. This article – relying on 27 semi-structured and open-ended interviews with activists, NGO volunteers, human rights lawyers, journalists and members of parliament, within the framework of the literature on bordering – interrogates the use of quarantine vessels during the pandemic as a means of stopping the spread of Covid-19 by irregular migrants arriving along the central Mediterranean route. We will see how this measure, presented as a humanitarian mission to preserve public health, has been an opportunity to tighten and securitise national and EU borders, and how quarantine vessels have been turned into hotspot-like spaces of bordering aimed at the filtering and containment of arriving migrants.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11386/4851052
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