The EU Migration Pact: a dangerous regime of migrant surveillance

PI joins the #ProtectNotSurveil coalition in calling out the EU's New Pact on Migration and Asylum voted on 10 April 2024, a package of reforms expanding the criminalisation and digital surveillance of migrants.

Key advocacy points
  • The Migration Pact expands a wide system of data collection and automatic exchange, leading to a regime of mass surveillance of migrants - in particular through changes in the Eurodac Regulation
  • Newly created screening procedures and border procedures (under the Screening Regulation) will mandate potentially discriminatory security checks and assessments of all people entering Europe irregularly
  • The Pact will enable intrusive technological practices in various stages of asylum processing, such as the extraction of mobile phone data in the Asylum Procedures Regulation
  • The newly introduced screening and border procedures will lead to more people, including children and families, being held in prison-like and surveillance-heavy detention facilities
  • The Schengen Borders Code Reform will generalise police checks for the purpose of immigration enforcement, with encouraged use of surveillance and monitoring technologies that have been shown to facilitate unlawful pushbacks
  • The Migration Pact sits upon existing frameworks governing the use of digital surveillance in migration, such as the EU AI Act - we can therefore expect future introduction of automated profiling and risk assessments for security and vulnerability checks, forecasting tools, lie detectors, dialect recognition systems, and other invasive border surveillance technologies

On 10 April 2024, the European Parliament adopted the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, a package of reforms expanding the criminalisation and digital surveillance of migrants.

Despite civil society organisationsʼ repeated warnings, the Pact “will normalise the arbitrary use of immigration detention, including for children and families, increase racial profiling, use ʻcrisisʼ procedures to enable pushbacks, and return individuals to so called ʻsafe third countriesʼ where they are at risk of violence, torture, and arbitrary imprisonment”.

This statement (attached at the bottom of this page) outlines how the Migration Pact framework will enable and in some cases mandate the deployment of harmful surveillance technologies and practices against migrants. We also highlight some grey zones where the Pact leaves open the possibility for further harmful developments involving intrusive and violent surveillance and data processing practices in the future.

The #ProtectNotSurveil coalition Access Now, Equinox Initiative for Racial Justice, European Digital Rights (EDRi), Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM), Refugee Law Lab, AlgorithmWatch, Amnesty International, Border Violence Monitoring Network (BVMN), EuroMed Rights, European Center for Not-for-Profit Law (ECNL), European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Homo Digitalis, Privacy International, Statewatch, Dr Derya Ozkul, Dr. Jan Tobias Muehlberg, and Dr Niovi Vavoula