Deportable and Not so Deportable: Formal and Informal Functions of Administrative Immigration Detention

  • Arjen Leerkes
  • Dennis Broeders
Part of the Immigrants and Minorities, Politics and Policy book series (IMPP)


In most EU countries and the United States, immigration detention is defined as an administrative, non-punitive measure to facilitate expulsion. This chapter argues that immigration detention in the Netherlands serves three informal functions in addition to its formal function as an instrument of expulsion: (1) deterring illegal residence, (2) controlling pauperism and (3) managing popular anxiety by symbolically asserting state control. These informal functions indicate that society has not found a definitive solution for the presence of migrants who are not admitted but are also difficult to expel. The analysis, which is placed against the background of the functions of penal detention, is based on policy documents, survey data, administrative data and fieldwork in a Dutch immigration detention centre.


Asylum Seeker International Social Survey Program Detention Centre Informal Function Immigration Detention 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Arjen Leerkes is supported by a VENI research grant from The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Erasmus UniversityRotterdamThe Netherlands

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