ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Populist Social Liberalism, Securitized Realpolitik and Tourist Visas: The Limits of South America’s “Free Human Mobility"

Latin America
Migration
Policy Analysis
Comparative Perspective
Liberalism
Luisa Feline Freier
Universidad del Pacífico, Lima
Luisa Feline Freier
Universidad del Pacífico, Lima

Abstract

Since the early 2000s, migration governance in South America has been characterized by strikingly open discourses and some important initiatives towards free mobility. A new ideological paradigm, based on the populist invocation of a rights-based approach to managing migration, replaced the former securitized vision of migration. The ideal of “free human mobility” and the “right to migrate”, which have been enshrined in regional declarations and domestic legislation, are considered symbols of this immigration policy liberalisation. Taken together, they - in theory - imply open borders with little or no visa restrictions. As in Europe, South American countries use tourist visas to control immigration from third countries. In practice, Ecuador is the only country in the region that significantly reformed its visa policy, de facto opening its borders in 2008. However, the policy was soon after partially reversed for 10 countries. Also, it took until 2017 for Ecuador to reform its out-dated, securitized migration law. Argentina, on the other hand, was the first country in the region to pass an exceptionally liberal migration law in 2004. However, the country did not loosen its tourist visa requirements. Based on a comparative case design, this paper explores the different determinants of the liberalisation of tourist visa policy, on the one hand, and immigration laws, on the other.