The administrative power of (cr)immigration officers: A study of discretionary decision-making in the enforcement of (cr)immigration laws

Project Details


Processes of ‘crimmigration’ – the convergence of crime control and
immigration control – have attracted academic attention over the last
decade. The increasing use of criminal justice tools for controlling
immigration has a profound impact on the lives of people involved.
Empirical research on crimmigration practices has been conducted in
prisons, courts, immigration detention centres, etc., showing that
national and European (cr)immigration policies are characterised by
exclusionary decision-making mechanisms. Yet, the administrative
decision-makers/(cr)immigration officers, who implement these
policies and decide on the imposition of crimmigration measures,
scientifically, remain a ‘black box’.
(Cr)immigration officers are ‘street-level bureaucrats’ with large
discretionary powers. Insight in their decision-making is
indispensable to understand how governmental rationales are
translated in concrete (crimmigration) practices and whether and why
‘governmentality gaps’ arise.
This research will study Belgian (cr)immigration decision-making
practices such as the imposition of (immigration) detention,
expulsion, re-entry bans and the revocation of residence permits, and
will relate these practices to national and European policy
developments and rationales. Ethnographic fieldwork will be carried
out at the Belgian Migration department, combining observations,
interviews and file analysis..
Effective start/end date1/01/2131/12/23


  • crimmigration
  • decision-making
  • immigration officers

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Punishment and criminal justice


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