While right-wing political discourse still believes border militarisation reduces irregular migration, this paper shows that border militarisation or “prevention through deterrence” does not reduce irregular migration and directly and indirectly inflicts violence on migrants that is analogous to violent crime. Studies even show that border militarisation might even have increased the number of irregular migrants living in the US (Massey et al., 2016; Massey, 2020).
However, it is likely that certain politicians, bureaucrats, and corporations will continue to use irregular migration for their personal gain, negatively affecting the lives of irregular migrants. Policies aimed at improving the safety and wellbeing of irregular migrants should include the creation and facilitation of regular migration opportunities for people forced to leave their homes. Moreover, instead of “prevention through deterrence” the EU and US should adopt a “prevention through development” strategy, aiding people to build livelihoods in their home countries, like the UN proposed in the World Migration Report 2020 (UN, 2020).
Additionally, more research needs to be conducted into the effects of border militarisation in the EU, specifically quantitative research like in Massey et al. (2016), to show a more macro perspective of the consequences of militarised border enforcement beyond anecdotal evidence of its violent consequences.