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Migration policy in the spotlights

From 11 to 21 June 2019 eleven students took part on the Honours summer course Dilemma’s in het migratierecht (Dilemmas in migration law).

Under the supervision of Mark Klaassen (Institute of Immigration Law) they learned about various aspects related to immigration law.  The summer school was organized by the Honours College Law, but besides the legal aspects it also focussed on the current, political discussions. As a result, the course attracted students from a variety of study programmes including international relations, public administration and international business law.

Expert lecturers
Over the fortnight, six experts were asked to speak on their work and particular expertise. Together, these various perspectives provided a good picture of this broad field of work. Peter Rodrigues (Professor of Immigration Law, Leiden University) started the course by providing a general introduction to the subject. Jorrit Rijpma (Europa Instituut, Leiden University), holding the Jean Monnet Chair on Mobility and Security, lectured on the background and content of the EU-Turkey statement and the role of EU asylum law in this regard. Kamila van Maris (International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Netherlands) provided insights into the role the IOM plays in the (voluntary) return of illegally resident foreign nationals to their country of origin. Christian Mommers (advisor to the Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe, and external PhD candidate at the Institute of Immigration Law, Leiden Law School) considered the issue of how voluntary a voluntary return is, and looked at the various dilemmas concerning the role of the illegally resident foreign national in the return process. In his presentation, Hans Faber (Director International Affairs at the Repatriation and Departure Service of the Ministry of Justice and Security) dealt with the role of his organization in the (independent and forced) return of foreign nationals to their country of origin. At the final session, Annemarie Busser (Amnesty International) spoke on the role of human rights in the return of foreign nationals and the role of immigration detention in the return process.

In this way, besides the academic perspective, the actual reality of the return process was also dealt with extensively. The way the course was structured and the limited number of participants allowed the students to put questions directly to the guest lecturers and to enter into discussions with them.

Dilemmas in migration policy
The students were challenged to write an academic paper on a migration issue they chose themselves. Under supervision and within a short time, the following topics were studied more closely: the EU-Turkey and EU-Libya agreements, the Dublin Regulation, the withdrawal of Dutch nationality from Syria volunteers, the situation of missing unaccompanied minor asylum seekers, and cooperation with third countries in relation to the return of illegally resident foreign nationals.

The Great Migration Game
To round off the highly instructive and intensive summer school, the students presented their papers to 240 secondary school pupils of the Haags Montessori Lyceum. Around ten times a year, Campus The Hague organizes Het Grote Migratiespel (the Great Migration Game). This ‘Serious Game’ teaches pupils about international organizations and migration policy in a fun way. The presentations gave the second-year pupils a taste of the issues they would go on to consider later on that afternoon. All in all, a great success for both the pupils and students.

Text: Marléne Derksen, participant on the course Dilemmas in Migration Law

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