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The Porous Border Woven with Prejudices and Economic Interests. Polish Border Admission Practices in the Time of COVID-19


  • Witold Klaus

    (Institute of Law Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences, Nowy Swiat 72, 00-33 Warsaw, Poland)


The COVID-19 pandemic has severely restricted global movement, thus affecting migration processes and immigrants themselves. The paper focuses on the evaluation of bordering procedures and practices introduced by the Polish government in the time of the pandemic. The aim is to highlight the duality in the admission processes at Polish borders between labour and forced migrants, which have been driven, as I argue, by economic interests and the xenophobic attitudes of the government. The paper is based on interviews with experts assisting migrants during the pandemic in Poland, whose direct contact with thousands of clients has allowed them to acquire broad knowledge of how the new legal provisions have affected different groups of immigrants. The data confirms that the Polish border is very porous. It has been almost completely closed to asylum seekers, especially those fleeing from Muslim countries, for whom the only option is to cross the border illegally. Only one exception was made for Belarusians, who were cordially welcomed at the border while escaping persecution in their home country in the wake of their protests against Lukashenko’s regime. Economic migrants, on the other hand, exist on the other side of the spectrum. For immigrant workers, borders have remained open throughout the whole pandemic. Moreover, some further measures facilitating their arrival were introduced, such as de facto lifting of quarantine for seasonal farm workers.

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  • Witold Klaus, 2021. "The Porous Border Woven with Prejudices and Economic Interests. Polish Border Admission Practices in the Time of COVID-19," Social Sciences, MDPI, vol. 10(11), pages 1-13, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jscscx:v:10:y:2021:i:11:p:435-:d:678534

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Liette Gilbert, 2009. "Immigration as Local Politics: Re‐Bordering Immigration and Multiculturalism through Deterrence and Incapacitation," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(1), pages 26-42, March.
    2. Christopher M. Weible & Daniel Nohrstedt & Paul Cairney & David P. Carter & Deserai A. Crow & Anna P. Durnová & Tanya Heikkila & Karin Ingold & Allan McConnell & Diane Stone, 2020. "COVID-19 and the policy sciences: initial reactions and perspectives," Policy Sciences, Springer;Society of Policy Sciences, vol. 53(2), pages 225-241, June.
    3. Brygida Solga & Filip Tereszkiewicz, 2020. "Challenges of Poland's Migration Policy from the Perspective of the Experiences of Selected European Union Countries," European Research Studies Journal, European Research Studies Journal, vol. 0(Special 2), pages 434-450.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Garcia Bochenek, 2023. "The Persistent, Pernicious Use of Pushbacks against Children and Adults in Search of Safety," Laws, MDPI, vol. 12(3), pages 1-30, April.

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