Around the globe, government policymakers have characterised detention as an effective way to keep track of migrants seen as potential security risks as well as to make migration less appealing. There is little evidence, however, that this strategy – although generally popular with the public – is achieving its stated security and deterrence goals.
At the same time, South Africa’s detention practices illustrate how rhetoric around the securitisation of migration as essential for upholding the integrity of the state can legitimise a range of illegal practices and give rise to many drawbacks; these include unlawful detentions and deportations, rights violations, financial costs, increased opportunities for corruption, and threats to the rule of law.
Amit, R. 2013. Detention as an Instrument of Control: Security Rhetoric and the Legitimization of Illegality in South Africa, Forced Migration Review, Special Issue: Detention, Alternatives to Detention and Deportation.