Governments are increasingly developing policies to apprehend and deport unauthorized migrants. Compared to the United States, the legal and administrative framework in Western European countries generally allows for a stricter interior policing of unauthorized migrants. This article describes and explains the limits to in-country migration policing in the Netherlands. On the basis of extensive urban field research in the country's two largest cities, as well as national police apprehension data, it is shown that even in a restrictive policy context immigration rules are not categorically enforced; assumed "deviant" unauthorized migrants run much higher apprehension risks than "nondeviant" unauthorized migrants. However, unauthorized migrants run much higher interior apprehension risks than in the United States. It is argued that the selective interior enforcement of immigration rules can be understood by taking into consideration the interests and values of three local agents that structure in-country migration policing: regular police, neighborhood residents, and city governments.

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CIMIC: Citizenship, Migration & the City
Police Quarterly
Department of Sociology

Leerkes, A.S, Varsanyi, M, & Engbersen, G.B.M. (2012). Local Limits to Migration Control: Practices of Selective Migration Policing in a Restrictive National Policy Context. Police Quarterly, 15(4), 446–475. doi:10.1177/1098611112453719