Local Responses to Precarious Migrants in Spanish Cities (MUNMIGRA)
Grant number: PID2021-129092OA-I00
The Covid-19 pandemic has made the urban dimension of the migratory phenomenon more visible as migrants are disproportionately concentrated in cities. While lockdowns have been a privilege of urban classes that could isolate themselves; the pandemic has increased the difficulties of migrants in precarious situations (hereafter, precarious migrants) to access basic social services such as health or education, secure housing, income or engage through civic or political channels. Before this event, in Europe, the Migration Crisis in 2015 already made evident how cities became spaces of inclusion but also of exclusion for those who are not considered desirable. Against this backdrop, MUNMIGRA aims to study the local responses to the reception of precarious migrants and their implications for the multilevel governance of migration. This objective refers to the role of cities in responding to the presence of those migrants whose presence is not exactly encouraged by the central state, specifically, rejected asylum seekers, individuals with a temporary suspension of deportation, and undocumented persons. By looking at local responses and connecting them to multilevel arrangements we aim to go a step further in our understanding of cities as actors but also arenas that can create conditions for inclusive or exclusionary actions. All in all, we believe that the way cities respond to the presence of precarious migrants reflects intra and extra-city dynamics linked to the multilevel arrangements they build with different administrative levels, cities, state and societal actors. Our project operationalises its objectives through the study of Spanish cities as they have been exposed to the practical and political challenges of responding to the presence of precarious migrants. In this regard, we develop an analytical framework based on the conceptualisation of MLG and policy entrepreneurship and then apply it on 16 cities representing different population clusters. Our data-collection is based on a database with the local responses developed by these cities to the presence of precarious migrants, a questionnaire with local policy officers from these cities and a focus group. We then plan to do an in-depth cases-study research on three non-major cities from the selected 16 ones.