Tricia Marie Redeker-Hepner

Grant Type

Workshop Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Arizona State U.

Grant number

Gr. CONF-885

Approve Date

March 23, 2022

Project Title

Redeker-Hepner, Tricia (Arizona State U.) "The Anti-Refugee Machine: A Framework for Migration Studies"

This workshop will tackle a puzzling problem: How and why do interventions that purport to target the ‘root causes’ of migration exacerbate conditions that create displacement while making it harder for migrants to achieve political asylum or other legal status? Through an historically-informed critical analysis of policies and interventions that aim to deter migration, such as development schemes and ‘partnerships’ among migrant-sending, transit, and receiving regions, our 3-day workshop theorizes how the ‘Anti-Refugee Machine’ defines the ‘root causes’ of migration and formulates interventions in ways that undermine refugee status in particular, and harm migrants in general. Through ethnographic case studies and comparative examples we identify how this ‘machine’ operates to recast asylum seekers as economic migrants and/or criminals, empowers sending and transit governments who collaborate in detaining and deporting migrants, encourages trafficking/smuggling, inflames anti-migrant sentiment, and pre-empts the political basis of claims to legal recognition. We will also explore how governments and other empowered actors deploy the ‘anti-refugee machine’ for their own purposes, leveraging resources associated with migration control to entrench abusive and exploitative systems. What are the consequences for migrants, for migration policy and law, and for humanitarianism and human rights at a time when both refuge and rights are under assault?