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N°32 I quarterly I january 2014 CNRS Networks | 37 In your latest book,2 you mention emancipation for these transmigrants. What do you mean exactly? A. T.: The choice of mobility is in itself liberating: rather than being pawns moved from place to place according to each country’s laws, transmigrants feel that they are in charge of their own migration. On the one hand, since they only set off for a few weeks or months at a time, they don’t have the impression that they are leaving their family environment behind. As a result, they don’t feel like foreigners anywhere, or that they have to conform with the identity of the countries they travel through. On the other hand, they have a sense of business achievement, especially when they return to their home country where they sometimes invest their profits. Since European countries’ planned assimilation of immigrants has been unsuccessful, transmigration gives the younger generations living in urban enclaves in Western Europe a way out that these countries have been unable to offer. Yet according to you, it's not all good news. A. T.: Correct. Firstly, it isn’t legal trade, since the transmigrants circumvent the law. Secondly, with regard to the origin of the capital, there is a close link between this activity and illegal trafficking. To buy their goods, some migrants take jobs as agricultural workers on opium poppy plantations in Turkey, Georgia, Russia, and Iraq for a month or two, or else borrow money from Russian or Italian mafias. Thirdly, there is a revival of female transmigration for prostitution from the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Mediterranean basin. They find their way to clubs on the east coast of Spain, for example at La Jonquera, a small village at the French border, where 10,800 women work as prostitutes. “Countries are increasingly disconcerted by these newcomers, who merely request temporary travel permits.” Are there links between former migrants and their descendants and the transmigrants? A. T.: Yes, in Europe, several thousand transnational migrants live close to or with settled immigrants from the same regions during their stays. There is a great deal of interaction between them. Some residents act as business associates: they provide transmigrants with accommodation and access to information and communication technologies so that they can connect with the huge poor-to-poor market. Through cultural associations, some residents bring in Syrian, Bulgarian, and Iraqi doctors, nicknamed ‘Egyptian doctors,’ who offer medical consultations to the transmigrants, assisted by young residents who buy medication online. Should we rethink the notion of borders? A. T.: Absolutely. The creation of the Schengen area led to the disappearance of internal borders, encouraging countries to consider their external borders as European, although these have no real legal status. In contrast, transmigrations mark out travelers’ territories covering areas 2000 to 3000 km long and 40 to 50 km wide, made up of multiple stopovers and social encounters. For transmigrants, borders don’t separate countries, but rather identify the territories they travel through and where their friends and relatives live. As an example, there is a Moroccan ‘belt’ that runs through Germany, Belgium, France, and Spain, where families are closely connected from one country to another, based on previous migration areas that now serve as a framework for traveling transmigrants. And the same applies to the Turks, Roma, and so on. 01. Laboratoire interdisciplinaire solidarités, sociétés, territoires (unité CNRS / Université Toulouse-II-Le Mirail / EHESS). 02. Alain Tarrius et al., Transmigrants et nouveaux étrangers (Toulouse: Presses Universitaires du Mirail, 2013). © S. Bal dwin /Corbis Contact information: LISST, Toulouse. Alain Tarrius > altarrius@gmail.com


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