Golunov Sergei
Immigration Control as a Means for Combating Islamic Terrorism
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ISSN 1728-2756

DOI 10.17994/IT.2019.17.2.57.8

Terrorism is one of the most acute security threats for many states, including Russia and Western countries. Many politicians and a significant part of general public see tightened immigration policies, including visa regime and asylum application procedures, as one of the key measures to counter terrorism threat. This study is focused on evaluating the effectiveness of immigration control as a means of combating terrorist threat. The study examines such issues, as influence of mass perceptions of terrorist threat on immigration policies, some fundamentals of immigration control as such, relevance of immigration policies as a way of targeting perpetrators, and conceptual importance of the Russian case. The study uses empirical data covering the period from 1999 to 2017 (the Global Terrorism Database, maintained by National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (University of Maryland, College)). Contributions of various categories of perpetrators according to their immigration statuses (non-residents, residents, and citizens of attacked states) are evaluated. The author concludes that the usual effectiveness of immigration control as a means of combating terrorist threat is relatively low. The bulk of perpetrators is represented by citizens of targeted states while permanent alien residents are usually radicalized after obtaining the resident status. It would be more correct to consider tough immigration policies as a means of preventing further deterioration by reducing terrorist groups’ opportunities to implement large-scale attacks, as it was on September 11, 2001. Yet the Russian case demonstrates that the visa-free regime in condition of large-scale immigration from Central Asia hasn’t led to dramatic exacerbation of terrorist threat. The utility of rigid visa policies for combatting terrorism depends to a large extent on some specific regionwide and countrywide factors.



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