Date of Award

Fall 12-11-2020

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Brian Dowd-Uribe


With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic came a collective global panic regarding health, safety, and security. Since the major outbreak of the coronavirus in March of 2020, few issues have received scrutiny and attention in the public sphere. Yet, the problems that existed before COVID-19 have not become obsolete, however, they were removed from the public eye. One such issue to receive less scrutiny is the treatment of the most vulnerable populations in the world—migrants and refugees. Spain and Greece’s locations on the Mediterranean Sea mean they are often the first place migrants seek refuge in their journey to Europe. In the past, both have infringed upon their human rights in ways that have invited global skepticism and scrutiny. The research in this thesis examines how COVID-19 has affected Greece and Spain’s migrant and refugee processing policies. I first establish how each country processed migrants and refugees prior to the pandemic. I then draw from news sources, government documents, videos, and first-hand accounts from volunteers, medical professionals, as well as migrants and refugees to show how these policies have shifted since March 2020. One of COVID-19’s defining implications on both countries’ migrant and refugee processing policies is the increased brutality of border protection methods which involve the illegal refoulment of migrants and refugees. Through my research, I find that both Greece and Spain’s policies have become stricter and more brutal in their treatment of migrants and refugees and their negligence of these groups’ human rights.