Jesse: “Denial of family reunification undermines immigrant integration”
Dr. Moritz Jesse, associate professor of European Law at the Europa Institute of the University of Leiden, spoke at the Social integration in EU law: Contents, limits and functions of an elusive notion – Seminar, which was organized as a part of the MOVES – Free Movement of Workers & Social Security Coordination network at the University of Turin at the end of May. During his presentation Jesse reflected on the links and conditionalities in law between family reunification and immigrant integration.
Jesse argued that one should not underestimate the power of a denial of family reunification to effectively undermine, if not destroy any potential for integration of the family member who is already living in the country of destination, i.e. the sponsor. All conditions to be fulfilled for before family reunion can occur, will inevitably alienate the sponsor from the receiving society. Instead of integration, conditions on family reunification undermine inclusion in this regard. What is ironic, is that measures which make family reunification more difficult and/or delay it, are usually installed with immigrant integration mentioned as their official objective and purpose. As these measures in fact will contribute little to nothing to the inclusion of migrants and are easily de-masked as migration control measures, they can hardly be considered proportional to the legitimate objective of fostering immigrant inclusion. They should be considered illegal (see here). The latest case-law of the Court of Justice of the EU, is in fact recognizing the problematic nature of immigrant integration measures abroad and limits their application as measures of immigration control by Member States, but stops far short of calling them illegal an disproportionate (see here).
The seminar led to a lively discussion between scholars and representatives of the EU institutions about the objectives, legal and practical effects of policies and legislation.
More information about MOVES can be found here.