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“To Detain Is to Take” – the carceral mobilities of Australia’s maritime migration governance

by Dr Andonea Jon Dickson

Submission summary

As Contributors: Andonea Jon Dickson
Preprint link: scipost_202203_00021v1
Date submitted: 2022-03-16 17:14
Submitted by: Dickson, Andonea Jon
Submitted to: Migration Politics
Academic field: Political Science
  • Migration Politics


Over the past four decades, maritime geographies have become prominent sites of policing and containing human migration. While there is important scholarly work on these contested liquid geographies charting the changing techniques of migration control, what continues to demand attention is the containment that is achieved through systemically keeping migrants mobile at sea. This paper explores maritime migration governance in Australia, examining the coerced mobilities that follow interdictions at sea and their carceral nature. I interrogate the High Court case, CPCF v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, which addresses the extended detention of 157 Tamil asylum seekers at sea in June 2014. Through analysing the language used in this case, such as the conclusion by the majority that “to detain” a migrant at sea mandates a concomitant duty “to take” that migrants somewhere else, I highlight how coerced mobility has become central to Australia’s strategy of migration governance and the indefinite detention at sea that this has come to legitimate. This will reveal the extent to which carcerality informs migration governance in Australia’s maritime geographies.

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Submission scipost_202203_00021v1 on 16 March 2022

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