Welcoming the unwelcome: Migration industries, hospitality and spaces of care in relation to homeless job-seeking migrants in central Copenhagen

Kristine Juul, Annemette Nyfos

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

As border control increasingly takes place within cities, private charities who engage in caring for non-national homeless migrants risk, unintentionally and unwillingly, to become enrolled in the so-called migration industries as front agencies for the European border regimes. Since the financial crisis of 2008, which hit migrant populations in Southern Europe particularly hard, the number of homeless migrants sleeping rough in the cities of northern Europe has increased. In Copenhagen, this includes jobless West African men, residing in Spain or Italy but temporarily surviving through collection of empty deposit carrying bottles left on the streets. Political will to engage in this rising social problem at state and city level has so far been limited. It has therefore fallen to the private non-profit charities of central Copenhagen to become sole providers of care for the homeless migrants. Drawing on long-term ethnographic research with migrants and charities and literature on urban borderlands, this article examines how these long-established institutions which used to provide care primarily to local substances abusers or mentally ill Danish residents have been transformed into agents of migrant care industry. We pay attention to the increasingly hostile elements of state and municipal policies vis a vis non-Western migrants, which work to divide ‘our homeless’ from ‘the others’ but also to the various ways in which charities work to enable different forms of survival strategies among migrants without access to the formal labor market and how this transformed role affects their relationships within local neighborhoods.
Translated title of the contributionVelkommen til de uvelkomne: Migrationsindustri, gæstfrihed og omsorg i forbindelse med hjemløse arbejdsmigranter I Københavner
Original languageEnglish
JournalUrban Studies
ISSN0042-0980
Publication statusSubmitted - 21 Jun 2020

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