Advertisement

Asylum Seeker Materiality and Identity-Building: Shapers of Socio-legal Incarceration

  • Francesco Vecchio
Chapter
Part of the Transnational Crime, Crime Control and Security book series (TCCCS)

Abstract

This chapter draws on participatory observation conducted as an outsider with two groups of about ten male asylum seekers each to explain why many asylum seekers in Hong Kong choose to live in spaces that can be defined as ‘slums’. An argument is made that asylum seekers’ choice of dwelling is a consequence of their socio-legal incarceration or confinement within a condition akin to detention, which limits and structures their identity and agency. Given structural factors that produce asylum seeker estrangement and marginalization, identity-based claims are made upon which asylum seekers act to ensure their survival. In so doing, however, they are responsible for shaping the exclusionary context that fashions their struggle to survive and gain a measure of control over their lives. A process of entrapment is thereby evinced, one in which asylum seekers are ensnared for political and economic reasons.

References

  1. Agnew, R. (1992). Foundation for a general strain theory of crime and delinquency. Criminology, 30(1), 47–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandara, K. (2015). Sri Lankan fatally burned in Hong Kong refugee slum. The Sunday Times, 4 February, viewed 5 February 2015. http://www.sundaytimes.lk/150201/news/sri-lankan-fatally-burned-in-hong-kong-refugee-slum-133282.html
  3. Bernal, J. K. (2010). Begging for basic rights. South China Morning Post, 13 November.Google Scholar
  4. Bosworth, M. (2012). Subjectivity and identity in detention: Punishment and society in a global age. Theoretical Criminology, 16(2), 123–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bosworth, M. (2014). Inside immigration detention. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bruzzone, M. (2016). On exterior and interior detention regimes: Governing, bordering, and economy in transit migration across Mexico. In D. Conlon & N. Hiemstra (Eds.), Intimate economies of immigration detention: Critical perspectives (pp. 105–119). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  7. Butler, J. (2004). Precarious life: The power of mourning and violence. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  8. Cheung, K. (2016). HKFP lens: “gas them” – Activists satirise anti-refugee campaigners at competing rallies. Hong Kong Free Press, 9 May, viewed 9 May 2016. https://www.hongkongfp.com/2016/05/09/hkfp-lens-gas-them-activists-satirise-anti-refugee-campaigners-at-competing-rallies/
  9. Coutin, B. (2010). Confined within: National territories as zones of confinement. Political Geography, 29, 200–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Daly, M. (2009). Refugee law in Hong Kong: Building the legal infrastructure. Hong Kong Lawyer, 9, 14–30.Google Scholar
  11. Dauvergne, C. (2008). Making people illegal: What globalization means for migration and law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Davis, M. (2006). Planet of slums. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  13. Fassin, D. (2013). Enforcing order: An ethnography of urban policing. London: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  14. Fung, K. (2015). Crime wave shows folly of open-door policy to refugees. China Daily, 7 October, viewed 7 October 2015. http://www.chinadailyasia.com/opinion/2015-10/07/content_15325622.html
  15. Grzymala-Kazlowska, A. (2005). From ethnic cooperation to in-group competition: Undocumented Polish workers in Brussels. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 31(4), 675–697.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harrell-Bond, B. (2002). Can humanitarian work with refugees be humane? Human Rights Quarterly, 24(1), 51–85.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Immigration Department [ImmD]. (2016). Statistics on non-refoulement claims, as at end of June 2016, viewed 22 September 2016. http://www.immd.gov.hk/eng/facts/enforcement.html
  18. Jacobsen, K., & Landau, L. B. (2003). The dual imperative in refugee research: Some methodological and ethical considerations in social science research on forced migration (Rosemarie Rogers Working Paper No. 19). The Inter-University Committee on International Migration, viewed 1 June 2009. web.mit.edu/cis/www/migration/pubs/rrwp/19_jacobsen.htm
  19. Jenkins, R. (2014). Social identity. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Kapoor, I. (2013). Celebrity humanitarianism: The ideology of global charity. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Koser, K. (1997). Social networks and the asylum cycle: The case of Iranians in the Netherlands. International Migration Review, 31(3), 591–611.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lahtoo, Y. (2016). Grim prospects for Hong Kong’s South Asian asylum seekers when their own governments want them in a gulag. South China Morning Post, 14 April, viewed 15 April 2016. http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1935979/grim-prospects-hong-kongs-south-asian-asylum-seekers-when
  23. Lam, J. (2016). Hong Kong government slammed as poverty figure hits six-year high. South China Morning Post, 15 October, viewed 16 October 2016. http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/2028422/hong-kong-government-slammed-poverty-figure-hits-six-year
  24. Lamont, M., & Mizrachi, N. (2012). Introduction: Ordinary people doing extraordinary things: Responses to stigmatization in comparative perspective. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 35(3), 365–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Law, K. Y., & Lee, K. M. (2013). Socio-political embeddings of South Asian ethnic minorities’ economic situations in Hong Kong. Journal of Contemporary China, 22(84), 984–1005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lawshan, A. (2012). How progressive culture resists critique: The impasse of NGO studies. Ethnography, 14(4), 501–522.Google Scholar
  27. Legislative Council [LegCo]. (2015). Legislative Council Panel on Security: Unified Screening Mechanism for Non-refoulement Claims, LC Paper No. CB(2)1832/14-15(03), 7 July, viewed 7 September 2016. http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr14-15/english/panels/se/papers/se20150707cb2-1832-3-e.pdf
  28. Leung, W. S. (2014). The fragmentation, shift and adaptation of the “asylum seeker” identity in Hong Kong. VF Research Insight Series, 2.Google Scholar
  29. Loper, K. (2010). Human rights, non-refoulement and the protection of refugees in Hong Kong. International Journal of Refugee Law, 22(3), 404–439.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Martinez, D., & Slack, J. (2013). What part of “illegal” don’t you understand? The social consequences of criminalizing unauthorized Mexican migrants in the United States. Social & Legal Studies, 22(4), 535–551.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mellah, F. (2001). Clandestino nel Mediterraneo. Trieste: Asterios Editore.Google Scholar
  32. Melossi, D. (2015). Crime, punishment and migration. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Mezzadra, S. (2011). The gaze of autonomy: Capitalism, migration and social struggles. In V. Squire (Ed.), The Contested politics of mobility: Borderzones and irregularity (pp. 121–142). Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Moore, K. (2013). “Asylum shopping” in the neoliberal social imaginary. Media, Culture & Society, 35(3), 348–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. O’Malley, P. (2010). Simulated justice: Risk, money and telemetric policing. British Journal of Criminology, 50, 795–807.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. On.CC. (2015, November 30). 外國快速評核免遣返聲請 港平均滯留2.7年 (Average of 2.7 years required to assess non-refoulement claims), viewed 30 November 2015. http://hk.on.cc/hk/bkn/cnt/news/20151130/bkn-20151130161257180-1130_00822_001.html
  37. Pellegrino, V. (2012). La clandestinità come progetto trans-nazionale: Un caso di studio sulle migrazioni marocchine in Emilia (Nord Italia). Mondi Migranti, 3, 205–226.Google Scholar
  38. Ramsden, M., & Marsh, L. (2013). The “right to work” of refugees in Hong Kong: Ma v Director of Immigration. International Journal of Refugee Law, 25(3), 574–596.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Refugee Union. (2016). Does race count in police profiling?. Refugee Union, 4 February, viewed 7 November 2016. http://www.refugeeunion.org/7648/race-count-police-profiling/
  40. Saunders, D. (2010). Arrival city: How the largest migration in history is reshaping our world. London: William Heinemann.Google Scholar
  41. Schierup, C. U., Hansen, P., & Castles, S. (2006). Migration: A European dilemma. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Sciurba, A. (2009). Campi di forza: Percorsi confinati di migranti in Europa. Verona: Ombre Corte.Google Scholar
  43. Sigona, N. (2015). Campzenship: Reimagining the camp as a social and political space. Citizenship Studies, 19(1), 1–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Sun, N. (2016). To stay or not to stay? Hong Kong low-income households say rents rising faster than government subsidies. South China Morning Post, 11 September, viewed 11 September 2016, http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/economy/article/2018436/stay-or-not-stay-low-income-households-say-rents-rising
  45. Turner, J. C. (1968). Housing priorities, settlement patterns, and urban development in modernizing countries. Journal of the American Institute of Planners, 33, 167–181.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Turok, I., & Borel-Saladin, J. (2016). The theory and reality of urban slums: Pathways-out-of-poverty or cul-de-sacs? Urban Studies. doi: 10.1177/0042098016671109.
  47. Vecchio, F. (2015). Asylum seeking and the global city. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  48. Vecchio, F., & Beatson, C. (2014). Asylum seekers’ Occupy movement in Hong Kong. Race & Class, 56(2), 96–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Vecchio, F., & Ham, J. (2017). From subsistence to resistance: Asylum seekers and the other “Occupy” in Hong Kong. Critical Social Policy, 37(3), 1–21.Google Scholar
  50. Vision First. (2013). The compound under the tree, 9 May, viewed 7 November 2016. http://www.vfnow.org/3780/the-compound-under-a-tree/
  51. Vision First. (2014a). SWD incapable of thinking outside the box with new tender. Vision First, 8 December, viewed 9 December 2014. http://www.vfnow.org/page/3/?filterYear=2014&filterCategory=-1&filterKeyword
  52. Vision First. (2014b). VF commend refugees for sharing stories with world. Vision First, 20 December, viewed 23 December 2014. http://www.vfnow.org/6225/vf-commend-refugees-sharing-stories-world/
  53. Vision First. (2015). Refugees are turning to crime because of Hong Kong’s botched asylum system. Hong Kong Free Press, 25 August, viewed 25 August 2015. https://www.hongkongfp.com/2015/08/25/refugees-are-turning-to-crime-because-of-hong-kongs-botched-asylum-system/
  54. Wacquant, L. (2004). Ghetto. In International encyclopedia of the social & behavioral sciences. London: Pergamon press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Francesco Vecchio
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyThe Chinese University of Hong KongShatinHong Kong

Personalised recommendations