Rights and democratic accountability : a comparative study on irregular immigration in Greece, Spain and Turkey
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This research is a comparative politics study, focusing on the particular irregular immigration policies and politics of three countries: Greece, Spain and Turkey. The research is concerned with the extent of the rights irregular immigrants can „enjoy‟ in the democratic states where they reside and work. The study questions if there is a divergence or convergence among Greece, Spain and Turkey in the way they treat irregular immigrants in relation to the recognition of these immigrants‟ fundamental human rights. The study also questions whether or not civil society participation and judicial review, as democratic accountability mechanisms, can also function as liberal constraints on the state in its regulation of irregular immigration and immigrants‟ rights. The theoretical basis of the study derives partly from the comparative politics literature on accountability and state society relations, and partly from the literature on immigration policy-making. The main reason for comparing Greece, Spain and Turkey is because the countries display certain immigration relevant similarities arising from geographical proximity, but also they have distinct patterns of policies when it comes to protective measures concerning immigrants. As part of the research, a documentary analysis of relevant policy documents, such as reports of civil society organizations, policy briefs, and immigration laws and regulations was conducted. In a comparative analysis of this documentary data, the study sought to identify the similarities and differences between the policies of Greece, Spain and Turkey relating to the recognition and protection of irregular immigrants‟ rights. In addition, in-depth interviews with experts on immigration policy in Greece, Spain and Turkey were also conducted. The goal of the interviews was to find out to what extent democratic accountability mechanisms at a national level, such as the activism of pro-migrant organizations, human rights groups, trade unions and other civil society organizations, together with court decisions, influence the state‟s protection of the rights of irregular immigrants.