Airport Casualties: Non-Admission and Return Risks at Times of Internalized/Externalized Border Controls (2015, Maybritt Jill Alpes)

This article analyzes what can happen to forced returnees upon arrival in their country of nationality. Subjective configurations of state agents in the Global South have created return risks, which in turn transform subjectivities of post-colonial citizens. The article contributes to this Special Issue by tracing repercussions of the externalization and internalization of border controls. In the case of Cameroon, these connections have resulted in the criminalization of emigration. Aspiring migrants are prosecuted if their departure projects fail to respect the entry requirements of countries in the Global North. The article is based on research conducted in Douala, Cameroon, in the form of discussions with control agents at the international airport, investigations at a prison, a review of related case law, police registers and interviews with Cameroonians returnees (November 2013–January 2014). Border controls and connected anti-fraud programs suppress family-based forms of solidarity and allow only for subjectivities rooted in state-managed forms of national identity. The article illustrates how efforts to combat fraud fuel corruption in returnees’ social networks, whereby, instead of receiving remittances, families in emigration countries have to mobilize financial resources in order to liberate returnees from police stations or prison complexes. Migration related detention of nationals in the Global South highlights the growing significance of exit controls in migration management.