Date of Graduation

Spring 6-1-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in International Studies (MAIS)


College of Arts and Sciences


International Studies

First Advisor

Olivier Bercault


This thesis aims to explore the disparities between the French state’s apparent participatory efforts in the human rights regime and the exclusionary practices against migrants within the territory. What has been labeled “the European refugee crisis”- here in France, has exacerbated states’ anti-migrant behaviors of hyper securitization, politics of refoulement, and practices of burden shifting. Under the Geneva Convention of 1951 relating to the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol, France, among 149 other signatories, has agreed to recognize and apply refugee rights as outlined by the Convention and to participate in the global effort to protect them. While the Convention is a legally binding document and relies on states’ voluntary participation and implementation, there have been many violations to refugee rights in France and other host countries who are, in fact, signatories. In the case of France, these transgressions have reached new heights with the case of the “Calais Jungle”- largest French encampment to this date, dismantled multiple times from the early 2000s to its destruction in October 2016. Far from the humanist politics it globally promotes, the French Republican model of integration’s limitations transpire through migrants’ rights violations disregarding regional and global commitments France has made in this matter. Some of these violations can be observed through the government’s explicit use of burden shifting practices, legal loopholes in the global refugee protection regime – such as taking advantage of the Dublin agreement’s clause of “first country of arrival”, as well as the hyper securitization of its borders and extreme control of migrant populations. In addition to these administrative and physical obstacles, the COVID-19 pandemic adds yet another layer of struggle to already vulnerable migrant populations. Between local elected officials, NGOs, and civil society, alternative forms of solidarity and support to migrants have emerged all over the country to compensate for the state’s lack of engagement and action.