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The criminalization of migration, detention centres, and their portrayal in the media

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posted on 2021-05-24, 11:55 authored by Huda Shaikh
This paper highlights the ways in which political ideologies and the media influence the securitization of borders which in turn results in and continues the cycle of the criminalization of migration. The literature review looks briefly at the development of Canadian policies towards migrants, and the way that international treaty obligations shape this. It will also look at role of the media in the creation of a moral panic, resulting in a mass fear of migrants. This is used as justification for immigration detention centres and the human rights violations within them. I employ a brief content analysis and examine the messages twelve popular media articles portray to Canadians about the centres. I find that recent articles about Canadian immigration detention centres can be divided into four themes: “How They Work”, “Public Opposition”, “Not as Bad as the U.S.” and “Prison-like Conditions”. I conclude with policy recommendations and areas for future research with an emphasis on the need to develop effective, rights-based policies for incoming migrants. Key words: Crimmigration, securitization, moral panics, policy, immigration detention centres, human rights, refugee rights, media





Master of Arts


Immigration and Settlement Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type


Thesis Advisor

Dan Horner