Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Yale Law School: Conference on The Globalization of High Seas Interdiction: Sale’s Legacy and Beyond, March 7-8
In recent decades, migrants have increasingly turned to dangerous maritime routes in their attempts to access the asylum systems and labor markets of the Global North. In the early 1980s, the United States was the first country to respond to such arrivals with a high seas interdiction program, initially conceived of as a means of intercepting Haitian asylum seekers before they reached U.S. territory. In its 1993 Sale v. Haitian Centers Council decision, the Supreme Court held that neither the Refugee Convention nor domestic immigration statutes constrained the executive’s capacity to interdict and return asylum seekers at sea. In the wake of 9/11 and the border control anxieties it sparked, several individual European countries, the European Union, and Australia adopted variants of the U.S. migrant interdiction approach. Overtly relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Sale, these countries transformed a regional U.S. border policing program into a vexing phenomenon of global scope.
More than twenty years have passed since the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Sale. In light of this milestone, this conference aims to bring together legal scholars, legal practitioners, and policymakers with both theoretical and practical insights into the extraterritorial migrant interdiction regimes that have emerged over the past several decades. The conference will provide an opportunity for participants to debate pressing questions related to the global rise of migrant interdiction, including the lawfulness and prudence of such programs, the concerns they raise with regard to balancing national security concerns and human rights commitments, and the role of transnational law reform campaigns in both challenging and solidifying the position of migrant interdiction in the contemporary juridical landscape.