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This video introduces the context and subject matter of the Critical International Migration Law ExpertTrack. Watch Mohammed's story here.
I have suffered a great deal, I have lost everything, my home, family, my life. Whether I get to the border or lose my life to the sea, this is it. Migration isn’t a new thing, people have been on the move since earliest times. Modern day migration is different. Modern day migration is often driven by persecution, fear, violence, destitution or extreme weather events. We met Mohammed, a 24 year old man from Syria on the Sangatte Beach in northern France. He was staring pensively at Dover, the White Cliffs faintly visible in the distance. Mohammed had spent the last few weeks sleeping rough near Calais.
He has tried boarding lorries on dozens of occasions, and he has also attempted to cross the channel by boat twice. Both attempts were thwarted, tonight he’s committed to try one last time. My name is Mohammed Almasi, I lived in Raqqa in Syria all of my life until the last few months. I was forced to flee my hometown when militia invaded and took over our town. My father refused to give up our home and was killed along with my mother and two young sisters. Somehow I managed to escape and I have been running ever since. The picture Mohammed paints is all too familiar in our time.
Civil war, violence, political instability and other reasons forced millions of people to migrate every year, often in perilous conditions, often having no option but to put their trust in smugglers or traffickers who profit from their pain. Welcome to your course in Critical International Migration Law. Over the coming weeks, we will delve into sources of International Migration Law, media depictions of migrants, migrant crises and other topics. You’ll learn with me, Sian Lewis-Anthony, senior lecturer in law at the University of Kent’s Law School. In this course, you’ll share with other learners from across the world as you explore how migration law addresses, or perhaps fails to address, a significant challenge of modern times. Who knows?
You could be meeting your future network of colleagues, of campaigners or agents of change here on this course. Our focus this week will cover a brief history of migration, the introduction of border controls, an examination of reasons why people move, and a consideration of the contested nature of terms used to describe migrants. Hard though it is to believe, Mohammed is one of the lucky ones, someone with enough money to give himself a fighting chance of escape. Others aren’t so lucky. So can the law really make a difference in the complex and intertwined story of modern migration, and does it exist to protect people or borders?

Welcome to Law and the Framing of Migrants and Migration, and the start of your learning journey on Critical International Migration Law brought to you by the University of Kent.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Sian Lewis-Anthony; I am Senior Lecturer in Law at Kent Law School, University of Kent. I designed this course and you will get to know my voice via the audios. I hope you enjoy this ExpertTrack.

Sian Lewis-Anthony Sian Lewis-Anthony, Senior Lecturer in Law at Kent Law School, University of Kent.

Over the next three courses, you’ll explore how the media and law have roles in framing crises, how millions of migrants are not protected by law, and how states go to great lengths to prevent migrants from reaching their territories.

Courses are organised in sequence, and for the best learning experience we suggest you follow this order:

  • Law and the Framing of Migrants and Migration
  • Freedom of Movement, Refugees, Traffickers, and Smugglers
  • Law’s Absence and Law’s Failings

We expect the entire ExpertTrack should take at least 12 weeks to complete. That said, everyone’s different, and you may find yourself working at a different pace, and that’s fine – one of the benefits of online learning is you can work at a pace that suits you.

However, we strongly encourage you to work through all aspects of the ExpertTrack. You need to mark over 90%+ of steps as complete across the entire ExpertTrack, attempt every test question, and score an average of at least 70% across all your assessments, to be eligible to gain certificates at both individual course level, and overall ExpertTrack level.

Deepen your learning

But there’s more to engagement than gaining certificates: we are confident that if you engage fully in all parts of this ExpertTrack you’ll likely maximise your learning, encounter other perspectives and ideas, and have a richer learning experience:

  • Working through the component courses in the suggested order – they’re arranged for a reason, and each course has been designed with a logical sequence. Jumping ahead without completing what came before may give you a disjointed learning experience.
  • Reading, watching and listening across a variety of steps – some of which are text based, some with rich media.
  • Sharing and discussing your learning with course peers – keep an eye out for the prompts which follow many steps, and get ready to spend a little more time on the Discussion steps.
  • Developing your ideas through conversation – Educators will not be able to respond directly to comments in this ExpertTrack. We encourage learners to support one another, share personal experiences, and see new perspectives through the comments.

You can find out more about ExpertTracks on our Community support site.

The video on this step introduces the context, the subject matter and the course instructor for this 12-week ExpertTrack, Critical International Migration Law. Each of the three four-week courses in this ExpertTrack has a separate Big Question.

The Big Question for this course is: How do discourses and law frame migrants and migration?

The Big Question for this week is: What is meant by a critical approach to international migration law?

This week’s objectives

By the end of this week you should be able to:

  • describe the overall elements of the ExpertTrack
  • investigate the history and varied reasons for migration
  • be aware of some of the critiques of migration law.
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Law and the Framing of Migrants and Migration

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