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Biometric Registration of Refugees in Greek Borders in Times of “Crisis”

Sat, September 2, 11:00am to 12:30pm, Sheraton Boston, Floor: 3, Gardner B


This paper examines the way biometric registration schemes used in the context of the EU migration policy affects the ontology of border venues with a focus on the Greek borderline.

Eurodac is a European fingerprinting database for identifying asylum seekers and undocumented migrants. It has been active since 2003, as a technological tool for implementing the Dublin regulation. According to the Dublin regulation, every asylum seeker may apply for asylum to only one member-state, that state being thus responsible for his/her application.
Eurodac has been a center of controversy since its launch. In June 2015, Eurodac’s data became available for forensic use from Interpol and national police forces “only in specific cases, under specific circumstances and under strict conditions”, practically transforming it from a asylum administrative tool to a forensic database and amplifying controversies around it. Eurodac as a EU policy tool and biometric registration as a method, shape and enact human subjectivities. This process however, is not a rigid or stable one, but is in turn at constant redefinition in relation to EU law and policy changes as well as international political developments.
This paper examines the way Eurodac’s role was altered during the great influx of refugees/ migrants and the partial suspension of the Dublin regulation the last year. More particularly, based on fieldwork conducted in the Greek islands of Chios and Lesvos in March 2016, I will discuss the politics embedded in the system and how it interplays with the reality shaped in border and refugees’ registration venues. Theoretical and analytical tools are drawn mainly from surveillance, security and border studies.


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