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The role of political and administrative practices in the reception of foreigners in the definition of immigration policies. Analysis of a French bord

Open Panel

Abstract

This paper is part of an ongoing research (PhD) that tries to identify how political and administrative local practices have been structuring immigration policies nowadays in France. Defining immigration policies is a requested condition for the sovereignty of the national State. This immigration policies have been gradually shared with Europe as for instance with the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum, the FRONTEX agency, or the borders of the Schengen area. Although there has been a growth of the European role and the supranational role in setting immigration policy, the main question of this paper is : How does the return of a local approach bring another perspective on European immigration policies and of citizenship? The fieldwork and the methodology of this sociology research is composed by observation and interviews with diverse agencies in two different town halls and one regional council from different political parties: from left and right. In those three institutions, the sociological survey has been carried out by doing long-term observations and long interviews with both officers having contact with the foreign public and the local elected officials. The research is being done in a border French region at the edge of the Schengen area, where those who are so-called “illegal migrants” are squatting public areas. The research has been conducted also with some local services. These local services aren’t prepared to deal with the responsibilities of the administrative procedures for foreigners who are in the French territories. Their ordinary main work is related to the service of civil status and making enquiries to check the sincerity of weddings applications, in township services, or in harbours’ security zone. The aim is to have a comprehensive overview on this matter by placing the different migration flows and the policies that are adapted in local levels. Observing the leeway of the local level, permits the analysis of how these policies are actually being daily built. Especially what concerns the political interpretation of the purpose of these policies and how the "encounter" between the foreigner and the geographic place happens.