Authors: Talitha Dubow (UNU-MERIT) and Katie Kuschminder
Published in the Journal of Refugee Studies
This article contributes to the literature on refugee journeys and decision-making by providing an exploratory study of the strategies adopted by refugee families in order to overcome controls on their movement and access to asylum. Refugee family strategies are analysed in the context of dynamic policy changes along the Eastern Mediterranean route, drawing on semi-structured interviews with Afghan, Iraqi and Syrian family members who were on this route between 2015 and 2018. The results demonstrate, first, how refugee families negotiate the physical and financial barriers to their movement—often by separating, which emerges as a key adaptive strategy. Second, concomitant with the decision to separate, family reunification policies become important in shaping—and determining the outcomes—of these asylum-seeking trajectories. Third, the article reflects on the consequences of family separation on the families themselves, particularly in an environment of limited family reunification possibilities.
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