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Moritz Jesse on Transition From Excluded Asylum Seeker To Integrated Refugee

Dr Moritz Jesse, Associate Professor of European Law at the Europa Institute Leiden, was sharing his thoughts on the transition from asylum seeker to refugee from a perspective of immigrant integration in Prague.

His presentation, titled ‘From Prohibited Inclusion to Mandatory Integration – the Difficult Transition from Asylum Seeker to Recognized Refugee’ was part of the plenary panel at the conference ‘The Future of Europe as a Place of Refuge’, which took place on 5 and 6 December at the Faculty of Law of Charles University, Prague.

In his talk, Moritz Jesse highlighted the parallels in the logic underlying both the reception of asylum seekers and civic integration programs, policies and legislation applicable for immigrants throughout Europe (more information on these programs and policies here). Both approaches presuppose that rights, residence security, and even family life, can be denied and withheld until the applicant immigrant or asylum seeker has fulfilled formal criteria, such as obtaining refugee status or passing formal integration conditions. Integration and inclusion, thus bringing the receiving society and the immigrant or asylum seeker together, is in this civic integration logic not based on equality and rights to participate but on following strict and formal trajectories. Initially immigrant and receiving society are deliberately kept apart. In the end, this is a bad policy choice because it will alienate the newcomer from the receiving society. What makes this set-up worse is the fact that most asylum seekers and immigrants will stay after this initial alienation induced by such policies of seggregation.

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