Research Topic

Migration in the Time of COVID-19: Comparative Law and Policy Responses

About this Research Topic

This Research Topic aims to provide one of the first comparative analyses of migration law and policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic, governments have reinstituted border controls in the Schengen region and any ‘non-essential travel’ to the EU has been suspended. The U.S. government has instituted travel bans on non-citizens from a range of countries. Asylum seekers have been refused entry in violation of international refugee law, and advocates have filed lawsuits demanding the release of immigration detainees in the face of the risks posed by COVID-19. Bringing together experts in migration law from throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada, the authors will begin to map the range of responses, identify common patterns, and offer predictions and solutions.

Over the past five years, as forced displacement from conflicts in Syria and elsewhere has dramatically driven up the numbers of humans on the move, destination states have instituted stricter and often harsh border control policies. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, which has given rise to real public health concerns about the movement of people even domestically, and is easily used as a justification to renege on international legal obligations towards migrants. Often located in positions of precarity, migrants test the strength of destination states’ humanitarian commitments and the binding nature of international migration law. The papers in this collection will examine and assess destination states’ responses to COVID-19 from the perspective of migration law and policy, and consider how they build upon prior exclusionary regimes, offering suggestions for reform of domestic laws in the wake of the pandemic.

The Research Topic will cover domestic, regional, and international legal and policy responses relating to migration and COVID-19. To some extent this will be a mapping exercise, bringing together a group of authors from throughout Europe and North America to hammer out the details of the range of destination state responses, identifying patterns and distinctions. This careful examination of the wave of law and policy responses will be a useful academic exercise in and of itself. We welcome critical analyses that place these responses in the context of the recent growth of exclusionary migration regimes and anti-migrant politics, as well as proposals to mitigate the harms that may result from these policies both immediately and once the pandemic is behind us.

The editors particularly encourage submissions of Perspective articles up to 3000 words in length, but also welcome other article types including Original Research.

***Due to the exceptional nature of the COVID-19 situation, Frontiers is waiving all article publishing charges for COVID-19 related research.***


Keywords: asylum/refugee, international law/EU law, Coronavirus/COVID-19, pandemic, immigration


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

This Research Topic aims to provide one of the first comparative analyses of migration law and policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In response to the pandemic, governments have reinstituted border controls in the Schengen region and any ‘non-essential travel’ to the EU has been suspended. The U.S. government has instituted travel bans on non-citizens from a range of countries. Asylum seekers have been refused entry in violation of international refugee law, and advocates have filed lawsuits demanding the release of immigration detainees in the face of the risks posed by COVID-19. Bringing together experts in migration law from throughout Europe, the United States, and Canada, the authors will begin to map the range of responses, identify common patterns, and offer predictions and solutions.

Over the past five years, as forced displacement from conflicts in Syria and elsewhere has dramatically driven up the numbers of humans on the move, destination states have instituted stricter and often harsh border control policies. Enter the COVID-19 pandemic, which has given rise to real public health concerns about the movement of people even domestically, and is easily used as a justification to renege on international legal obligations towards migrants. Often located in positions of precarity, migrants test the strength of destination states’ humanitarian commitments and the binding nature of international migration law. The papers in this collection will examine and assess destination states’ responses to COVID-19 from the perspective of migration law and policy, and consider how they build upon prior exclusionary regimes, offering suggestions for reform of domestic laws in the wake of the pandemic.

The Research Topic will cover domestic, regional, and international legal and policy responses relating to migration and COVID-19. To some extent this will be a mapping exercise, bringing together a group of authors from throughout Europe and North America to hammer out the details of the range of destination state responses, identifying patterns and distinctions. This careful examination of the wave of law and policy responses will be a useful academic exercise in and of itself. We welcome critical analyses that place these responses in the context of the recent growth of exclusionary migration regimes and anti-migrant politics, as well as proposals to mitigate the harms that may result from these policies both immediately and once the pandemic is behind us.

The editors particularly encourage submissions of Perspective articles up to 3000 words in length, but also welcome other article types including Original Research.

***Due to the exceptional nature of the COVID-19 situation, Frontiers is waiving all article publishing charges for COVID-19 related research.***


Keywords: asylum/refugee, international law/EU law, Coronavirus/COVID-19, pandemic, immigration


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

15 August 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

15 August 2020 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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