Control and Compassion:The Framing of the Migration-Security Nexus within the Migration Policy of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Context of Increased Irregular Migration towards Europe between 2015 and 2017.
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The aim of this research is to analyze the framing of migration policy at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the context of increased irregular migration from Africa and Asia towards Europe in the time period of Summer 2015 until Summer 2017. Framing is considered here as a process in which actors with different viewpoints create a discursive interpretation of a situation. I will show that the policy framing of the Dutch government hinges on negotiations of actors who are situated in a polarized national force field. The framing reflects a balance between control and compassion in the realm of migration due to diverging political views on the so-called migration-security nexus, which refers to the relation between migration and security. The migration-security nexus is represented in securitizing frames and humanizing frames. These frames are reflections of two theoretical notions of security. The first is securitization. This is a notion in which national security is prioritized. The second is human security. This is a notion in which the individual security of migrants is prioritized. The dominant frame of the Dutch government thus merges plural conceptions of the migration-security nexus. The academic relevance of this research is to demonstrate how policy framing can be ambiguous and therefore can be used to legitimate different political viewpoints. My goal is not to give an analysis of actual policy measures of the Dutch government, nor to give a moral assessment of its practices. Instead, I aim to provide an evaluation of the framing of the policy, and illustrate how an ambiguous policy framing is useful in legitimizing a wide range of policy practices.