Population Space and Place, 2012,
18 (4), p. 457-467 ISSN 1544-8444
Transit migration is not a completely new phenomenon. In fact the real novelty is that it is perceived or presented as new by international experts. By re-emphasising the transitory nature of migration the term reintroduces an aspect of uncertainty in migration patterns, associating social marginalisation with precarious impermanence and illegality with criminality and transit, in order to provide an argument to eliminate it. In fact it is only a minority of nationals of sub-Saharan African countries who, having crossed the Sahara, actually want to continue to Europe. The majority are happy to work more permanently in the Maghreb while cross border circulation continues on a seasonal basis. To confuse the figure of the trans-Saharan migrant with those of the victim stuck on a boat off the coast of Lampedusa or trapped in the forests of Bel Younes at Ceuta or Mariwari, near Mellila is to twist reality. There is one certainty, nevertheless, amongst all these approximations: the precarious status of transit migrants has grown as states have cooperated in border control operations and as solidarity between migrants and other migrants or non-migrants, which provides a safety net during migratory movements, has gradually faded. Across the Sahara, migrants in transit leave traces, particular changes in places which research must explain before they are totally erased, before both states and migrants themselves contribute for different reasons to their disappearance. The Sahara is not only a space that is crossed, it's also a place that is worked on, urbanised by the passage and residence of generations of migrants.
Plan de classement
Société, développement social