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Crime and Migration


Admission requirements



Debates on the relation between crime and migration are not new. Scholars have always been interested in researching the question if immigrants are overrepresented in crime, and if so for what reasons. Nowadays, crime and migration have increasingly become linked, also in different ways. First, restrictive migration policies in many Western countries have fostered an increase in what is generally referred to as migration crime, the most prominent examples of which being unauthorized migration, human smuggling, and human trafficking.
Second, over the past years, migration policy and crime control have increasingly become intertwined. Whereas this trend has first been noted and labeled as crimmigration in the United States, it is visible across the globe. On the one hand immigration law violations are increasingly addressed as criminal offenses, on the other hand immigration law is also increasingly used as an instrument of crime control: rather than being rehabilitated and re-integrated in the country of residence, non-citizen criminals may lose their residence permits, in order to be excluded from the territory with the help of immigration law. Rising rates of immigration detention, an increase in the number of declared ‘undesirable aliens’ are some manifestations of the crimmigration-trend. Fuelling crimmigration processes is the development of a political and public discourse in which immigrants are increasingly seen and addressed as ‘dangerous others’ if not as criminals. Although this ‘othering’ or framing of immigrants as a potentially risky group dates back to the late 1990s, the post 9/11 global war on terror and the rise of the security state seem to have intensified this negative stereotyping of immigrants.

In this course, we specifically address the issue of migrant overrepresentation in crime. To what extent are immigrants indeed overrepresented in crime and if so, for what types of crime and for what reasons. We will scrutinize the social networks involved in various forms of migration crime including irregular migration, human trafficking and human smuggling. Furthermore, we will learn how immigrants perceive immigrant detention and discuss the framing of immigration as a security issue in media and policy debates. We will also discuss questions on the legitimacy of the use of instruments of crime control to control migration, and immigration law instruments to control crime. In addition, in this course we will look at different manifestations of crimmigration and scrutinize the (unintended) consequences of crimmigration processes for various actors.

Course objectives

Achievement levels:
The following achievement levels apply with regard to the course:

  • Describe and critically analyze the interplay between crime control and migration control as well as the underlying phenomena of crime and migration in different national contexts, both in theory and in practice;

  • Summarize reflections on the literature and classes on the relation between migration and crime into concept maps;

  • Identify and further explore a particular national or international subtheme related to crimmigration and its relation to the wider societal context on the basis of the literature;

  • Collect and analyze primary and / or secondary sources with respect to the relation between crime and migration in a country or region of choice;


The timetable of this course can be found in uSis.

Mode of instruction

Not applicable.

Not applicable.

Other methods of instruction

  • Description: Interactive classes of 4 hours in which work group assignments and lecturing alternate

  • Number of (4 hour) instructions: 5

  • Names of instructors: Dr. M.J. (Masja) van Meeteren

  • Required preparation by students: Reading the literature for each week

Assessment method

Examination forms

  • Portfolio of written assignments (30% of grade)

  • Paper (70% of grade)

Students have to pass all the aspects of the course (grade > 5,5) in time in order to get their final grade.
All grades only hold for the present academic year with one retake option.

Submission procedures
Turn it in (Blackboard) and hardcopy.


More information on this course is offered in Blackboard.

Reading list

Obligatory course materials

  • Dario Melossi (newest edition), Crime, Punishment and Migration. Los Angeles: Sage.

  • Additional articles and chapters that will be distributed through Blackboard (web links only).

Course information guide:
Will be distributed through Blackboard.


Students have to register for courses and exams through uSis. Exchange students can register through the online registration system of the International Office.

Contact details


  • Institute: Criminal Law and Criminology

  • Department: Criminology

  • Room number secretary: B3.11

  • Opening hours: 9-17 h

  • Telephone number secretary: +31 (0)71 527 7462

  • Email: