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A reverse migration paradox? Policy liberalisation and new south-south migration to Latin America

Freier De Ferrari, Luisa Feline (2016) A reverse migration paradox? Policy liberalisation and new south-south migration to Latin America. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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In past decades, immigration policies in Latin America developed in stark contrast to other regions. Whereas most countries moved towards more restrictive policies, many Latin American countries liberalised their immigration policy frameworks and recently passed laws that expand individual rights in unprecedented ways. At the same time, migratory movements in Latin America are in flux, one of the most noteworthy recent developments being the increase in extra-continental immigration from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. This PhD explores a reverse migration paradox inherent in the reciprocal causal relationship between immigration policy liberalisation and new south-south migration. The first paper uses a mixed approach of legal analysis and process tracing to show this paradox in the cases of Argentina, Brazil and Ecuador. It analyses the tension between liberal discourses and policies that invoke the universality of migrants’ rights and free human mobility, on the one hand, and the rejection of recently increasing irregular south–south migration on the other. Using a difference-in-difference design, the second paper tests the impact of Ecuador’s policy of visa freedom of 2008 on previously restricted countries in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean, and shows that immigration from these regions more than doubled. Qualitative findings confirm that visa freedom was the main determinant of migrants’ decision to move to Ecuador and further show great variance of migrant characteristics. The third paper is based on 35 in-depth interviews, which collectively demonstrate that perceived security threats of domestic and international political actors, which led to the partial reintroduction of tourist visa requirements for ten African and Asian countries by 2010, were closely intertwined with racism. Taken together, the three papers have important implications for the study of immigration policies, south-south migration and the securitisation of migration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Luisa Feline Freier De Ferrari
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JL Political institutions (America except United States)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Thielemann, Eiko

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