This presentation explores the making of “moral” migration policies. Contrary to common wisdom, legitimacy and even morality are not only reserved to “good” migration friendly policies but are also invoked by those who make decisions that expose migrants to death. Surprisingly, while many studies have investigated the violence associated with European migration policies, very few have focused their attention to the question of how the seemingly unacceptable is often viewed as a moral necessity. What kind of legitimising rationales are behind these policies? To respond to this question, I examine two instances of violence towards migrants: deportation and migrant deaths. In taking these two instances, I expose two moral legitimizing rationales. The first one is what I call cold morality which relies on dehumanization processes through appeals to law. The second one is what I call romanticised morality which functions through humanization processes, appealing to agency and nostalgia.
Shoshana Fine is Associate Professor of Political Science at ESPOL, Université Catholique de Lille.