A never-ending journey at the external borders of the European Union.
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This thesis addresses the management of EU’s external borders and flows of (irregular) immigrants from Morocco to Spain. Over recent years, there has been growing concern in the European Union about (irregular) immigration from and across the Mediterranean, which has come to be seen both as a security threat as well as a humanitarian challenge. As a consequence, the EU intensified border management activities in and across the Mediterranean: as far away from the territorial border as possible. EU institutions and border agencies, professionals and private security companies play an increasingly critical role in current practices of EU border management. Information and surveillance technology are the centerpieces of this ‘new border architecture’. This thesis provides an insight in the new architecture of EU border management and the complex European borderscape. A new externalization-privatization-militarization nexus will be presented to better understand the way modern technologies of surveillance are put into practice. Based on the analytical model of biopolitics, this thesis aims to develop a further understanding of the use of new technologies of surveillance to manage EU’s external borders and flows of (irregular) immigrants and the legitimization of these modern technologies within EU’s immigration policy framework. Drawing on this insight, it is the intension of this thesis to shed light on the social implications (in terms of human rights issues) and the disturbing socio-political consequences for (irregular) immigrants of the rapidly-changing character of EU border management in the complex European borderland. This thesis argues that the issue of (irregular) immigrants gradually shifts to the background of the European political debate, disappearing into the ‘politics of forgetting’. This thesis points out the danger that (irregular) immigration becomes a persistent phenomenon of our time, instead of a problem that should be solved or a challenge that should be managed.