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Managing crime through migration law in Australia and the United States: a comparative analysis

Comparative Migration Studies. 2017;5(1):1-24 DOI 10.1186/s40878-017-0056-0


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Journal Title: Comparative Migration Studies

ISSN: 2214-594X (Online)

Publisher: SpringerOpen

Society/Institution: IMISCOE (International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion)

LCC Subject Category: Social Sciences: Communities. Classes. Races: Urban groups. The city. Urban sociology: City population. Including children in cities, immigration

Country of publisher: Netherlands

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML



Khanh Hoang (Migration Law Program, ANU College of Law, Australian National University)

Sudrishti Reich (Migration Law Program, ANU College of Law, Australian National University)


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 13 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

Abstract This article examines the intertwining of migration law and criminal law — termed ‘crimmigration’ by scholars — in Australia and the United States of America, and its implications for non-citizens who engage in criminal conduct. Our comparison of the two systems demonstrates that the laws and policies in both jurisdictions are similar to a significant degree. Both have strong exclusionary policies characterised by sweeping visa cancellation/removal powers, a heavy focus on enforcement, and limited review rights. In Australia, legislative amendments in 2014 have given the executive greater powers to cancel visas and remove non-citizens on character grounds as a means of ensuring national security and public safety. This has coincided with a new law enforcement body created within the Australian Department of Immigration. These changes reflect a repurposing of migration law as a tool for managing criminal threats based on the concept of ‘risk management’. Drawing on the experience of the United States — where such a ‘risk management’ approach is entrenched — we query the utility of this shift and highlight the potential pitfalls of pursuing such a policy for Australia.