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Immigration in the EU and the US: Comparing Border Policies

Both in the US and in Europe, border control has become one central component of immigration and asylum policies with seemingly the same objective: preventing irregular entries of migrants and refugees. This trend has accelerated in recent years, with ever stricter border controls, more detention of migrants and refugees, the use of the notion of “safe third country” and partnerships with third countries, some of which now play a pivotal role in controlling the borders of their US and European neighbors, such as Turkey and Mexico.

What are the differences and similarities in the policies implemented in the EU and the US? What is their impact on the fundamental rights of migrants and refugees? In both contexts, what relative weight is given to the rights of migrants and refugees on the one hand, and to border enforcement measures on the other? Finally, what long-term consequences will the COVID-19 crisis have on border policies in both cases?

The Border Between the US and Mexico: The Making of a Migration Crisis?

Watch videos with (English with French subtitles)

  • Clara Long, Senior Researcher, US Program, Human Rights Watch
  • Tom K. Wong, Associate Professor and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Center, University of California San Diego
  • Veronica Ortiz Ortega, General Director, Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales (COMEXI)


 How have arrivals at the US-Mexico borders evolved?

What are the immigration policies at the US-Mexico border?

What future for immigration policies in the US and Mexico?


Watch the full interviews with Clara Long, Tom K. Wong et Veronica Ortiz Ortega (in English)

Clara Long (Human Rights Watch) explains why nationals from Central American countries apply for asylum in the United States. She goes over policies that have been implemented to prevent migrants to enter the United States, including since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She finally questions the role of checks and balances to the government (justice, localities) and NGOs' actions.


Tom K. Wong (University of California San Diego) describes how the "Remain in Mexico" policy works and presents the results of his research about the violence migrants face on the Mexican side of the border. He compares the similarities and differences of the Trump and Obama administrations' immigration policies and analyzes the impact of a potential Biden administration.  .


Veronica Ortiz Ortega of Comexi presents the impact of the US immigration and ayslum policy on Mexico's relations with the US and Central American Countries. She also analyze the lack of capacities of Mexico to provide adequate reception conditions to the immigrants and the transfer of national security forces to the Southern border at the expenses of the fight against security. She questions the contradictions between Mexico's welcoming immigration rhetoric and its strict national immigration and asylum policy. 


European borders and right of asylum after COVID-19

Watch the entire webinar video recording (in French)

  • Vincent Cochetel, Special Envoy for the Mediterranean Situation, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, European Parliament

asylum migration refugees Mexico United States