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Research project


Migration and crime are in the spotlight in society. Within the Institute for Criminal Law and Criminology, research in this area has strongly developed in recent years. The concept of Crimmigration is central to this.

Masja van Meeteren

The mission of this research thema group is (through active cooperation with social parties, international and interdisciplinary embedding of research, and participation in the public debate) to achieve high-quality and socially relevant research into one of the major themes of our time: migration.

Crimmigration research focuses on legislation, policy and decision making by and about actors involved in enforcement and supervision (mobile border controls, policing and ethnic profiling) on ​​the one hand, and on forms of crime that are closely related to migration (human trafficking, terrorism) on the other.

The concept of Crimmigration was introduced to the United States in 2006 by Prof. Stumpf to draw attention to the increasing fusion of migration law and criminal law. Van der Leun introduced it in her Leiden lecture in 2009 in the Netherlands. This concept, which is now being understood in a broader sense than purely related to legislation and regulations, not only appeared to have a strong alerting function, but it also turned out to have a cohesive effect on researchers from different disciplines. The research questions that researchers are concerned with within this cluster are questions such as, how is the process of crimmigration in the Netherlands and Europe going, how can this be explained, and what are the consequences of this process for:

  • The criminal justice chain / immigration chain;
  • The different links within the criminal justice chain / immigration chain;
  • The society;
  • The immigrant (and immigrant groups).

Moreover, research on crimmigration is strongly anchored in the Faculty through the faculty elective course Human Trafficking (in collaboration with the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings), the faculty elective course Crime & Migration, and an annual PAO course on Human Trafficking.

Collaboration with social parties

It is crucial that the researchers collaborate excellently with social parties in almost all of their projects - naturally while maintaining academic freedom. The NCTV financed doctoral research into jihadism in the Netherlands in collaboration with the WODC. As a result, unique criminal files became available for research and the NCTV was able to benefit quickly from the insights, for example about jihadist networks. The KMar also made extensive data collection possible and, together with the Migration Policy Department of the Ministry of V&J, contributed to the research. Together with the KMar, we are currently looking at how the recommendations put forward by the researchers can actually be put into practice. The police unit The Hague, iSZW and DT&V gave permission for research based on observations, interviews and registrations. Members of the research group take their public role seriously. Van der Leun, for example, explained the study of ethnic profiling in the city council of The Hague and is a member of the ACVZ, the committee that advises State Secretary of V&J on migration. Different employees are also involved in different journals. Maartje van der Woude is the editor of Crimmigration. Furthermore, since 2017 Luuk Esser has been associated as an author with Text & Comments International criminal law (human trafficking and human smuggling). He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Trafficking and Human Exploitation and he participates in several supervisory committees. He regularly provides in-depth courses on human trafficking for SSR, OSCE, SBO and various courts.



(Inter)national connections

The researchers work together with universities within and outside Europe. The members of the project group are also very active in (inter)national research contexts. For example, van der Leun and van der Woude are members of the board of directors of the Crimmigration Control International Network of Studies, van der Leun, Brouwer and van Meeteren have established the Migration division within the Dutch Association for Criminology, and van der Woude is a member from the organizing committee of the collaborative research network on citizenship & migration of the international Law & Society Association. In addition, involved researchers are active within the Border Criminologies network of Oxford University. The research group is also actively connected to the working group on Immigration & Crime of the European Society of Criminology (ESC).

Current research projects

Jelmer Brouwer. ‘’Crimmigration Unravelled: An Interdisciplinary study into the legitimacy, accountability and effectiveness of immigration control’’ (PhD research).

Maartje van der Woude. “Getting to the Core of Crimmigration: Assessing the Role of Discretion in Managing Intra-Schengen Cross-Border Mobility” (NWO VIDI Research).

Maryla Klajn“Agents of Change? (Hi)stories, perspectives and everyday practices of intra-Schengen border officials. Human agency and street-level discretionary decision making in matters of cross-border mobility” (PhD research)

Neske Baerwaldt. "Vertical interventions? The local politics of crimmigration control in intra-Schengen borderlands" (PhD research)

Patrick van Berlo. ‘’The Commodification of Criminals and Migrants: Examining the involvement and accountability of private actors in criminal and migrant detention’’ (PhD research)

Roxane de Massol de Rebetz. "Combatting Human Trafficking and Human Smuggling in intra-Schengen Border Areas" (PhD research)

Core publications

Brouwer J., Woude M.A.H. van der & Leun J.P. van der (2018), Border policing, procedural justice and belonging: the legitimacy of (cr)immigration controls in border areas, British Journal of Criminology 58(3): 624-643.

Brouwer J., Woude M.A.H. van der & Leun J.P. van der (2018), (Cr)immigrant framing in border areas: decision-making processes of Dutch border police officers, Policing and Society 28(4): 448-463.

Brouwer J., Leun J.P. van der & Woude M.A.H. van der (2017), Framing migration and the process of crimmigration: a systematic analysis of the media representation of unauthorized immigrants in the Netherlands, European Journal of Criminology 14(1): 100-119.

Cleiren, C.; Leun, J.P. van der; Meeteren & M. van (2015), Beperkingen aan en dilemma’s van de slachtoffergerichte aanpak van mensenhandel; een blik op arbeidsuitbuiting, Proces, tijdschrift voor strafrechtspleging 94(2): 82-97.

Dekkers T.J.M., Woude M.A.H. van der & Koulish R. (2019), Objectivity and Accountability in Migration Control using Risk Assessment Tools, European Journal of Criminology 16(2): 237-254.

Dekkers T.J.M. & Woude M.A.H. van der (2016), Acceptance Denied: Intelligence-led Immigration Checks in Dutch Border Areas, European Journal of Policing Studies 4(2): 242-265.

Dekkers T.J.M., Woude M.A.H. van der & Leun J.P. van der (2016), Exercising Discretion in Border Areas: On the changing social surround and decision field of internal border control in the Netherlands, International Journal of Migration and Border Studies 2(4): 382-402.

Dekkers T.J.M. & Woude M.A.H. van der (2014), Staring at the felony forrest: de complexiteit van risicoprofilering nader in kaart gebracht, Proces, tijdschrift voor strafrechtspleging93(1): 52-70.

Esser, L.B. & Dettmeijer-Vermeulen, C.  (2016), The Prominent Role of National Judges in Interpreting the International Definition of Human Trafficking, Anti-Trafficking Review, 6: 91–105

Leun J.P. van der & Bouter H. (2015), Gimme Shelter. Inclusion and Exclusion of Irregular Immigrants in Dutch Society, Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies12(3): 135-155.

Meeteren & M.J. van (2014), Irregular Migrants in Belgium and the Netherlands. Aspirations and incorporation. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Meeteren M.J. van & Leun J.P. van der (2018), Daders van arbeidsuitbuiting. Over de vermeende rol van de georganiseerde misdaad, Proces, Tijdschrift voor strafrechtspleging 97(2): 130-146.

Meeteren M.J. van & Oostendorp L.N. van (2018), Are Muslims in the Netherlands constructed as a 'suspect community'? An analysis of Dutch political discourse on terrorism in 2004-2015, Crime, Law and Social Change .

Ölçer F.P. (2018), The State's Positive Obligations Relevant to Migrant Smuggling In Light Of Case Law of the European Court of Human Rights. In: Azakli M., Aydin M. (Eds.) Constitutional Justice in Asia: "Migration and Refugee Law". 5th Summer School of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions, 17 - 24 September 2017. Ankara: Association Of Asian Constitutional Courts [Printed by EPAMAT]. 303-356.

Woude M.A.H. van der & Leun J.P. van der (2017), Crimmigration checks in the internal border areas of the EU: Finding the discretion that matters, European Journal of Criminology 14(1): 27-45.

Woude M.A.H. van der, Barker V. & Leun J.P. van der (2017), Crimmigration in Europe, European Journal of Criminology 14(1): 3-6.

Woude M.A.H. van der & Brouwer J. (2017), Searching for “Illegal” Junk in the Trunk: Underlying Intentions of (Cr)Immigration Controls in Schengen’s Internal Border Areas, New Criminal Law Review 20(1): 157-179.

Woude M.A.H. van der & Berlo P. van (2015), Crimmigration at the Internal Borders of Europe? Examining the Schengen Governance Package, Utrecht Law Review 11(1): 61-79.

Woude M.A.H. van der, Dekkers T.J.M. & Brouwer J. (2015), Over crimmigratie en discretionair beslissen binnen het Mobiel Toezicht Veiligheid…of Vreemdelingen…of Veiligheid?, Tijdschrift voor Veiligheid 14(2).

Woude M.A.H. van der, Leun J.P. van der & Nijland J.A. (2014), Crimmigration in the Netherlands, Law and Social Inquiry 39(3): 560-579.

Do you want to know more about the research that is being carried out within the theme of Crimmigration of the CJ research program? Then please contact Masja van Meeteren of Maartje van der Woude.

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