Managing citizenship, security, and rights : regulating marriage migration in Europe and North America.
This research investigates the ways in which marriage migration, which was relatively insignificant in the early phases of post-War immigration, has become the object of intense state scrutiny and the site of political interventions in the past twenty years, as family-related migration became the main legal mode of entry in Western Europe, Canada and the United States (Kraler, 2010). Such interventions have taken different forms, and have become increasingly debated. Indeed, they seem to pit what many deem to be a fundamental principle in Western democracies, namely the right to family life (at least for established citizens), against calls and pressures for tightened migration policies.
This study seeks to consider how marriage migration to the UK has been regulated from 1900 to the present day, as well as analysing some of the contributory factors to and consequences of such regulation. Immigration in general often raises acute tensions across political boundaries and marriage migrants have raised particular socio-political issues which various administrations have attempted to address over the years. Issues of race, gender, culture and identity and different theorisations of the limits of state power in this area have all been instrumental in contributing to the regulation of marriage migration since the early 1900s.
The tension between the right to family reunification as laid down in European Directives and Member States’ concern to protect their sovereignty in regulating migration has resulted in growing attention to and concern about fraudulent family relationships (especially marriages of convenience). This contribution addresses the question of what forms of control are permissible from a European law perspective and whether national practices are in conformity with European law and fundamental rights.