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When Transit States Pursue Their Own Agenda

Malaysian and Indonesian Responses to Australia's Migration and Border Policies

Antje Missbach and Gerhard Hoffstaedter

Abstract

The growing literature on transit countries places much emphasis on the policy interventions of destination countries. In the case of Southeast Asia, Australian policies have disproportionate effects across borders into the region, including those of Indonesia and Malaysia. However, so-called transit countries also counterweigh foreign policy incursions with domestic politics, their own policies of externalizing their borders, and negotiations with destination countries to fund their domestic capacity. While Malaysia and Indonesia share many characteristics as transit countries, they are also noteworthy cases of how they negotiate their own interests in making difficult decisions regarding irregular migration in the region and how responsibility and burdens should be shared.

Open access

Introduction

Reconceptualizing Transit States in an Era of Outsourcing, Offshoring, and Obfuscation

Antje Missbach and Melissa Phillips

Abstract

There has been growing pressure on states to “solve” the phenomenon of irregular migration. Destination countries have transferred this pressure onto transit countries, which are assumed to have the political will, ability, and means to stop irregular migration. This special section looks at the ways in which transit countries respond to challenges, pressures, and compromises in matters of irregular migration policies through a number of empirical case studies. Making transit countries the main focus, this special section aims to scrutinize domestic policy discourses in the transit countries, which are influenced by regional agreements and economic incentives from abroad but are also shaped by local interests and a wide range of actors. Of special interest is to understanding whether the logics of destination countries that favor deterrence and exclusion have been adopted by politicians and the public discourse within transit countries.