Open Collections

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Embodied geographies of the nation-state : an ethnography of Canada’s response to human smuggling Mountz, Alison 2003

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata


831-ubc_2003-860671a.pdf [ 28.38MB ]
JSON: 831-1.0091383.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0091383-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0091383-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0091383-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0091383-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0091383-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0091383-source.json
Full Text

Full Text

EMBODIED GEOGRAPHIES OF THE NATION-STATE: A N E T H N O G R A P H Y OF CANADA'S RESPONSE TO H U M A N S M U G G L I N G by ALISON MOUNTZ B.A., Dartmouth College, 1995 M.A. , Hunter College, City University of New York, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of Geography) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A July, 2003 © Alison Mountz, 2003 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) EMBODIED GEOGRAPHIES OF THE NATION-STATE: A N E T H N O G R A P H Y OF CANADA'S RESPONSE TO H U M A N S M U G G L I N G by ALISON MOUNTZ B.A., Dartmouth College, 1995 M.A. , Hunter College, City University of New York, 1998 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL F U L F I L L M E N T OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE F A C U L T Y OF G R A D U A T E STUDIES (Department of Geography) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH C O L U M B I A July, 2003 © Alison Mountz, 2003 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) 11 abstract This thesis provides a geographical analysis of the response of the Canadian nation-state to human smuggling. I contend that nation-states must be examined in relation to transnational migration and theorized as diverse sets of embodied relationships. As a case study, I conducted an ethnography of the institutional response to the arrival of four boats carrying migrants smuggled from Fujian, China to British Columbia in 1999. I studied the daily work of border enforcement done by civil servants in the federal bureaucracy of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), as well as the roles played by other institutions in the response to the boats. This "ethnography of the state" led me to theorize the nation-state geographically as a network of employees that interact with a variety of institutions in order to enact immigration policy. I also interviewed employees of other institutions involved in the response to human smuggling, including provincial employees, immigration lawyers, service providers, supra-state organizations, refugee advocates, and media workers. The thesis explores cross-institutional collaboration among them and the resulting decision-making environment in which civil servants design and implement policy. Civil servants practice enforcement according to how and where they "see" human smuggling. My conceptual understanding of state practices relates to these efforts to order transnational migration. Diverse institutional actors negotiate smuggling at a variety of scales. Power relations are visible through discussions of smuggling at some scales, but obscured at others. I "jump scale" through embodiment in order to understand the micro-geographies of the response. This shift in the scale of analysis of the nation-state uncovers different relationships, interests, and negotiations in which state practices are embedded. This approach to geographies of the nation-state considers the time-space relations across which state practices take place, the everyday enactment of policy, the categorization of migrants, and the constitution of borders through governance. I argue that such an approach is key to understanding the relationship between nation-states and smuggled migrants. The findings suggest a re-spatialization of enforcement through which nation-states increasingly practice interception abroad and design stateless: spaces, and in so doing, reconstitute international borders. Ill table of contents abstract ii table of contents iii tables v figures vi acronyms vii acknowledgements viii preface ix chapter 1 introduction: "don't ask permission" 1 A brief chronology of events Why this ethnography of this state's response to this migration at this time? Discourse, smuggling, and refugees Geographies of the nation-state Preliminary notes on methodology Chapter outline chapter 2 enforcing geographies of the nation-state 25 Transnationalism and the nation-state The state is neither monolith nor "ghost-like" apparition The disjuncture between policy and practice: "Policy loves a vacuum" The nation-state as everyday practice Approaching daily life in the immigration bureaucracy The politics of scale Geographies of the body Geographies of the nation-state as network chapter 3 smoke and mirrors: an ethnography of the state 60 Introduction: the methodology Ethnographies of the state: a genre Smoke and mirrors: the research process in three acts chapter 4 "if it looks like a duck:" seeing human smuggling like a state 80 Introduction Global trends in human smuggling in the 1990s Transnational organized crime The challenges for the state Situating Canada in the context of the global game board State imaginations: how Canada saw the boats Information: the role of intelligence Main strategies to combat smuggling The view from Hong Kong How the state imagines and communicates human smuggling chapter 5 life in the fishbowl 134 Introduction A brief history of Citizenship and Immigration Canada The geography of the workplace The crisis iv The fishbowl New roles and collaborations Leadership "Command Center" "Policy on the fly," public opinion, and political contexts Frustration within the bureaucracy Lawyers and the law Finance The wild west: hierarchy and regional geographies of the federal department Work identities Conference calls and "the need to know" Time and Space E-mail Files Access to information requests Il/legality, boundaries, and identity The development of infrastructure The division between Church and State Unity and success The wait Analysis: the bureaucrat chapter 6 policing borders and containing governance 196 Introduction Scale, boundaries, and identity Legal counsel Non-governmental organizations Advocates Suprastate institutions The Province Analysis: scale, power, and containment through governance chapter 7 embodiment, containment, and geographies of access 249 Introduction Media analysis Communications Securing the leaky state The dis/embodiment of human smugglers Illegality and the rise of "the bogus refugee" The "long tunnel thesis" The body as a political tool and mode of expression The embodiment of research Conclusions chapter 8 conclusions 287 Introduction Putting together the pieces Statelessness and the bureaucracy The times and places in which one writes The relationships between policy and research A story not yet relegated to history appendix 1: policy recommendations references 305 306 V tables Table 1.1 A chronology of events 21 Table 1.2 Empirical data on the four ships intercepted in 1999 22 Table 3.1 Parties involved 79 Table 4.1 Primary institutions involved in the response 98 Table 7.1 Local media coverage of immigration issues, 1995-2000 254 vi figures Figure 1.1 Two migrant ships intercepted in 1999 xiii Figure 1.2 Map of journey from Fujian to British Columbia xiv Figure 1.3 Migrant ship sails through Canada's Immigration Act XV Figure 1.4 Migrants tip Canadian authorities 23 Figure 1.5 "Enough Already" headlines The Province 24 Figure 4.1 Map of global smuggling routes 126 Figure 4.2 Media and government choppers leave downtown 127 Figure 4.3 Fourth boat listing and flyover 128 Figure 4.4 US currency rolled in women's sanitary napkins 129 Figure 4.5 Pulling maps from a drawer 129 Figure 4.6 Makeshift medical exam room in Workpoint Gym 130 Figure 4.7 Reading bodies as texts 131 Figure 4.8 The footprint in Esquimalt in September 1999 132 Figure 4.9 "Keep Watch: Protect Our Waters" 133 Figure 5.1 Aerial photograph of interception and media 194 Figure 5.2 Minors portrayed in handcuffs in The Globe & Mail 195 Figure 7.1 "Quarantined" headlines The Province 284 Figure 7.2 Canada as a marine filling station 285 Figure 7.3 Two claimants in The Globe &Mail 286 vii acronyms ALO Airline Liaison Officer BC British Columbia BCCW Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women CBA Canadian Bar Association CCG Canadian Coast Guard CIC Citizenship and Immigration Canada CSIS Canadian Security Intelligence Service DAARE Direct Action Against Refugee Exploitation DFAIT Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade DFO Department of Fisheries and Oceans DND Department of National Defense ERT RCMP's Emergency Response Team ICO Immigration Control Officer based abroad INS Immigration and Naturalization Services of the United States IOM International Organization for Migration IRB Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board MCF BC Ministry of Children and Families MMI BC Ministry of Multiculturalism and Immigration MOU Memorandum of Understanding between departments MRT CIC's Marine Response Team NGO Non-Governmental Organization NHQ National Headquarters of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (Ottawa) PGRCC Prince George Regional Correctional Centre POE Port of Entry PRC People's Republic of China RCMP Royal Canadian Mounted Police RDG (or DG) Regional Director General of RHQ RDP Canada's Refugee Determination Process RHQ Regional Headquarters of CIC, B.C./Yukon (Vancouver) UN The United Nations UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees VIA Vancouver International Airport acknowledgements This project would not have been possible without the support and energy invested by so many people at Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in Vancouver, Victoria, Ottawa, and Hong Kong. There are some folks at CIC who are particularly dedicated and impassioned about these issues. I found them infectious, learned so much from them, and hold a lot of respect for them. They could have - probably should have - written this thesis themselves. I cannot include their names here, nor can I thank them enough for the risk, trust, and time invested in the project. I believe that they participated not only because they're good people, but because they care deeply about what they do. There were also many important people outside of CIC whose generosity with time and spirit made this project possible. I am especially grateful to Alex Charlton, Suzanne Duff, Robin Pike, and Joshua Sohn for their support. I gained new insights from each of the practitioners whom I had the opportunity to interview. Those working in the field of immigration in all capacities often do so under stressful circumstances such as budget cuts and shifting political and media climates. I hold a great deal of respect for the work that they do. Generous financial support for the research came from the Izaak Walton Killam Predoctoral Fellowship, UBC's Faculty of Graduate Studies, and the Centre for Research on Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis (RIIM) in Vancouver. In the Ottawa-based offices of the International Metropolis Project, I am indebted to Meyer Burstein, Howard Duncan, Nathalie Ethier, and others for greasing the wheels and lending all manner of assistance. A whole other set of important institutional players on my committee supported the project from its inception. I am lucky to have found an exceptional group of mentors who each, in his or her own way, taught me something about immigration and about how to be in the academy, qualities that I can only hope to emulate. From Dan Hiebert, I learned to be thoughtful and civic-minded; from Jennifer Hyndman, I learned tenacity with a good dose of humor; and from Vicky Lawson, excellent mentoring and leadership. Gerry Pratt has excited and encouraged me with her sharp, creative intellect from the moment I arrived in Vancouver. And David, my supervisor, modeled wisdom, kindness, humility, and patience. He is a wonderful supervisor and an agile intellect whose lessons I will carry with me always. I am also lucky to have had the opportunity to learn from Juanita Sundberg and Derek Gregory during my time here. A supportive group of friends and colleagues kept me sane and smart at UBC with laughter and companionship. I thank Helen, Jen, Shelly, Margaret, Jamie, Natalie, Cherie, Maija, Caroline, Bonnie, Wendy, Magdalena, and Emily for contributing to my growth in this place. I am also grateful to Minelle, Jenny, Andrew, Arn, JF, Min-Jung, Dan, Jo, Sin Yih, Graham, and Eric for all of their support. Farther afield but never far were Richard, Win, Millie, Kevan, Rekha, and Rev. And of course, C-SWIG enriched my professional life in the happiest of ways. Finally, I am eternally grateful to my family - Hen, Bob, and Sarah - who somehow make everything possible and love unconditional. And to Bob, the newest member of my family and constant source of the love, patience, and support that got me through. ix preface In January of 1999, employees of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) held a two-day tabletop exercise designed to develop an operational response to a potential marine arrival of smuggled migrants off the western coast of Canada. In June, five months later, the British Columbia/Yukon regional office of CIC then led collaborating governmental partners through exercises organized to practice modus operandi in the event of a boat arrival of smuggled migrants in British Columbia (BC). They went out on the waters off the coast of Vancouver Island and rehearsed responses to hypothetical situations such as boarding unflagged, foreign vessels at high speed. Those immigration employees working in the fields of environmental scanning, strategic planning, and intelligence gathering foresaw the possibility that one day such an event might come to pass and devised a response at the regional level. We were prepared. We had thought about it. We had done a contingency plan. In fact, in our plan, we had done some scenarios and workshops on [Vancouver] Island in the spring. One of the areas that we had actually looked at and mapped and everything was where two of the boats came in. So there had been some thinking about it. We had enough information to tell us what was happening in Australia, that it could very likely happen here, and so we were going to get ready.1 Despite subsequent accusations to the contrary, they did not know that at that moment, smugglers were, in fact, preparing a retrofitted fishing trawler that would transport migrants from Fujian, China to British Columbia. Employees of Citizenship and Immigration Canada had prepared a response with no hint of the magnitude of what lay ahead in the months to come: high speed chases on high seas, vessel piracy, and attempts by smugglers to infiltrate government procedures. On 19 July 1999, the Yuan Yee, a rusted ship carrying 123 migrants smuggled from Fujian, crossed the twelve-mile limit to territorial waters off the shores of Vancouver Island, the westernmost international border of Canada, and entered Nootka Sound (Figures 1.1 and 1.2). Figure 1.1 here: Two migrant ships intercepted in 1999 Figure 1.2 here: Map of journey from Fujian to British Columbia 1 Interview, Vancouver, August 2000. X After sighting the boat, a Coast Guard captain contacted the B.C./Yukon Regional Headquarters (RHQ) of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, located at 800 Burrard Street in the heart of downtown Vancouver. This is a recollection of that moment on the part of the immigration officer who took the call: I have to say that we didn't know in advance that we were going to get hit. . . Everyone was convinced we knew, that there was some secret US spy satellite up there that was tell ing us stuff. I took the first call on the 20* of July from the Canada Coast Guard and it was the Captain of the Tanu... I remember h im saying, "You know, we've got boats." And I said, "Of course you've got boats, you're the Navy." And he said, "No, no, you have a boat". .. "We've got some migrants here and two of them are swimming to shore. What should we do?" I said, "Well where are they?" He gave me the latitude and longitude, and I said, "Well where the hell's that?" And he said, "Nootka Sound." I said, "God, way over there!" That was the first landing in British Columbia centuries ago, and here they were at Nootka Sound. I said, "Well how far off are they?" He said, "Oh about 100 meters from the shore." So we were going, "Wow, this is weird." We said, "What are you going to do?" And he said, "Well what are you going to do?" . . . And it was then we realized that we do have a federal mandate, and we felt good that we had a response that we could exercise and that we had been thinking strategically at the local level. But we didn't know until they were on the beach.2 Boats of migrants began arriving in coastal waters now considered Canadian long before the inception of the nation-state of Canada (Guillet 1963). This was the first time in recent history, however, that the federal government responded to a boatload of migrants smuggled via a continuous route from China to British Columbia. Under the leadership of CIC, various departments scrambled to authorize the deployment of the Coast Guard's MV Tanu, the platform from which members of CIC's Marine Response Team (MRT) and the RCMP's Emergency Response Team (ERT), and a medical team of three would board the unmarked vessel. As CIC intercepted and processed the migrants, little did the Department know that a second boat of migrants was already en route to Vancouver, with a third and a fourth preparing to leave China. The institutions that would come to be involved in the ensuing months anticipated neither the tone of the public response to human smuggling by boat, nor the ways in which the pitch would intensify with each of the subsequent three arrivals, until a total of 599 migrants had arrived in Canada, with the fourth ship intercepted on 9 September 1999. 2 Whereas research interviews serve as the source of most quotes in this thesis, this one originates from a workshop on the cross-institutional response to human smuggling in British Columbia held in October 2001 at the Fifth National Metropolis Conference in Ottawa (Charlton et al. 2002). I co-organized this workshop with an xi Thus began what came to be known among bureaucrats involved with immigration to Canada as "The Summer of the Boats." This was the largest unanticipated group of refugee claimants that CIC had received in recent history, and this new scale demanded an enormous investment of resources on the part of several federal, provincial, and non-governmental bodies. CIC released the first boat of migrants once they had made their refugee claims. Many of these claimants then failed to appear at subsequent hearings, having thus abandoned their claims. They are believed to have traveled to the United States. With the ensuing boat arrivals, the federal government argued successfully that the migrants were without identification documents and constituted a "known flight risk" and were, therefore, subject to detention. Hence, this migration also marked the first time in recent Canadian history that the federal government detained refugee claimants en masse as they saw their claims through the process.3 Eventually, the Fujianese migrants became the largest mass deportations in recent Canadian history. The boat arrivals linked the Canadian present to its past and reminded responding officers of two other memorable arrivals in Canadian history. The first such ship to British Columbia, the Komagata Maru, arrived in 1914 and carried 376 Punjabi Sikhs (Johnston 1989). In what has come to be thought of as a dark period in the history of immigration to BC, Canadian officials kept the migrants on the ship in the Vancouver Harbour where they stayed for two months and were then turned back. More recently, a ship called the Amelie arrived off the Atlantic coast near Halifax in 1987 carrying 174 Sikhs and resulted in Parliament being recalled. The boat arrivals from Fujian contributed to Canadian fears of invasion, a loss of sovereignty, and of continuous routes from the People's Republic of China (PRC). While the numbers were relatively insignificant, the symbolic significance and the seemingly direct affront of these arrivals to the integrity of Canadian borders - where it appeared that there was a lack of control and order - struck a chord with a nation-state already anxious about sovereignty issues (Figure 1.3). Figure 1.3 here: Migrant ship sails through Canada's Immigration Act employee from CIC RHQ B.C./Yukon and with the director of a refugee settlement agency in downtown Vancouver, both of whom were involved in the 1999 response. 3 While the detention of refugee claimants has become common practice in Australia and the United States, this has not been the case in Canada. Xll As the political cartoon in Figure 1.3 illustrates, this movement confirmed Canadians' fears and perceptions that the country's immigration and refugee laws were being abused. The summer of 1999 turned out to be a season that tested the standard operations of procedure and policy through which government bodies interact and marshal resources. The response revealed the disparate ways in which federal governments and human smugglers work along and across international borders. This thesis documents the response of many people from multiple institutions to the arrival of smuggled Fujianese migrants at a time when emotions and stress levels were elevated. As such, it is an ethnography of Canada's response to human smuggling in 1999. It serves more broadly as an "ethnography of the state," an emerging genre to be examined in this thesis. In the ensuing pages, I will introduce the origins, theoretical dialogues, controversies, terminologies, and methodological parameters surrounding this research on how the Canadian nation-state sees human smuggling. xiii Figure 1.1 Two migrant ships intercepted in 1999 (on 20 July and on 30 August) Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada xiv XV Figure 1.3 Migrant ship sails through Canada's Immigration Act chapter 1 introduction: "don't ask permission" The United Nations estimates that some four million people are smuggled across international borders annually (International Organization for Migration 1997). Geography is central to the relationship between nation-states and people on the move (see Nash 2001). Canada has always felt secure in the ability to select migrants because of its geography of sea borders and the shared border with the United States. And yet this geographical proximity and otherwise close relationship with its powerful southern neighbor has also always signaled a distinctly anxious state of affairs. In the era of the North America Free Trade Agreement and other moves towards trilateral arrangements in North America, Canadians have worried more about the perceived erosion of sovereignty. In the years prior to the marine arrivals, the US had been pressuring Canada to step up enforcement along its borders. While the extent to which the US influences Canadian public policy is a matter of debate, the perception of this pressure is significant for civil servants. This pressure intensified following the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. on 11 September 2001 and the belief that some of the perpetrators might have entered the United States from Canada. In light of a perceived loss of sovereignty by the state and the transgressive border-crossing powers of transnational migrants in an era of globalization, I began with the following research question: What is the desire and ability of the nation-state to mediate transnational migration? Social scientists have tended to under-theorize the role of the nation-state in relation to human mobility and displacement. When included in studies of transnational migration, the state tends to masquerade as an ill-defined, monolithic barrier against which migrants struggle. Researchers of immigration have paid insufficient attention to the geographies through which nation-states are produced. This thesis brings the contested boundaries of the nation-state into relief by examining the response of the Canadian government to human smuggling. I offer insight into how the federal government sees and manages one particular stream of transnational migration, human smuggling. The dimensions of this response illustrate a need to deconstruct "the state" as a category, which in turn demands a 1 2 more complex series of research questions about the geography of human smuggling, refugee claimants, and governance. How do states see and attempt to manage migration streams? The response to the boats carrying migrants smuggled in 1999 drew together many different institutions, each of which worked through distinct objectives, mandates, and cultures. In order to discuss the differences and collaborations among them, I gathered narratives of border management - on the part of people working within and beyond government - through an institutional ethnography (D. Smith 1987). Ethnographic research took place primarily at the federal department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), but includes interviews with many other institutions as well. It contributes the voices of civil servants to conceptual models of immigration and juxtaposes them with the voices of employees of other institutions such as media workers, refugee advocates, service providers, immigration lawyers, and provincial employees. Qualitative research tools such as semi-structured interviews and participant-observation enable a depiction of the daily contexts in which bureaucrats work to enact policy. Through interviews, I examine the social processes surrounding CIC policy; seeking to understand not only the policies and structures of government as recorded on paper, but the ways in which their enactment is embodied in practice by a diverse set of civil servants. The data reveal that the boundaries around the nation-state are produced distinctly for different people, and that these productions relate closely to public opinion and to the critical role of the popular media. The power of media to alter public opinion influences civil servants to the extent that the management of information for the external environment became one of the most important points of orientation for the federal department of CIC. The importance of maintaining a coherent, consistent, and contained image for the external world came to the fore among government employees, and prompted contemplation of the contributions of critical media studies to theories of the state. Analysis of state practices at multiple geographical scales and in multiple locations vis-a-vis the case study, suggests a need for new geographical understandings of the production of the nation-state that are bound up with a shift in scale to everyday, localized enactment of bureaucracy and federal policy. Several overarching themes guide the structure of the thesis and signal its contributions. Above all, the thesis offers an analysis of the geographical production of the nation-state, by which I mean the ways in which civil servants and other institutional employees negotiate and implement policy through the daily work of enforcement. The federal government and its 3 policies are enacted within a bureaucracy where thousands of people work in different locations. Most geopolitical approaches discuss the operation of the nation-state at a global scale.1 This thesis, however, suggests a "re-scaling" of the state (Hyndman 2003) through which researchers seek to understand the ways in which the state operates distinctly, with different objectives, across time and space. Between the National Headquarters (NHQ) of CIC in Ottawa and the Regional Headquarters (RHQ) in British Columbia, there existed many conference calls and visits, and the translation of policy and practice across space and time. It is across this space and time that subtle and sensitive shifts in meaning may take place. Ethnographic analysis of the bureaucracy illustrates the spatiality of governance, struggles over the social construction of scale, and the primary role of representation as organizations negotiate policy. This thesis offers sustained attention to the geography of governance by analyzing the response of the Canadian nation-state to human smuggling in 1999. By challenging some of the assumptions underlying this response, the thesis urges reconfiguration of some of the categories and spaces designed to manage transnational migration. A brief chronology of events After intercepting migrants on the water, authorities brought them either by ship or by bus to a Canadian military base in Esquimalt, near Victoria, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island. The migrants were then processed, including initial interviews with immigration officers. During this time over 500 of 599 migrants made refugee claims.2 When CIC released the adults that had arrived on the first boat, many did not appear at refugee claimant hearings in subsequent weeks. Having abandoned their claims, they were presumed to have traveled to the US to work. This abandonment further inflamed public opinion regarding abuse of Canada's refugee program and its ability to police borders. By referencing this disappearance, the federal government argued successfully that migrants on the following three boats posed a "flight risk," meaning that they were likely to flee if released. The federal government also argued that the 1 Many scholars have critiqued this unidimensional view of the state, such as those working in the fields of organizational theory, critical geopolitics, and feminist international relations. I will discuss their work further in chapter two. 4 migrants carried no identification documents. These two arguments enabled CIC to pursue longer-term detention of most of the adults that arrived on the following three boats. Following the processing of ensuing arrivals, CIC either released migrants or transported them to longer-term detention facilities. Ultimately, some 500 (83%) of the 599 made refugee claims, and 429 (72%) were held in long-term detention. In some cases, detention lasted up to two years (DAARE 2001: 5) as claimants exhausted opportunities for due process in Canada. CIC placed about 100 minors3 in the custody of the Ministry of Children and Family Development of the Province of British Columbia, deemed the legal custodian for unaccompanied minors. CIC granted the claimants due process under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and repatriated those eventually determined by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) not to be refugees according to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.4 Table 1.1 shows a brief chronology of events, beginning with two suspected arrivals that were not intercepted by the federal government. Table 1.1 here: A chronology of events Table 1.2 catalogues some basic empirical information on the four boats that were intercepted. 2 These numbers are dynamic and changed over time, and I have seen a different number reported by different sources. One document released to the public by CIC placed the number of refugee claimants at 549 (CIC, Marine Arrivals: Status Update. 18 February 2000.) Most estimates hover above 500. 3 These numbers were also contested and dynamic: legal status changed over time, some migrants misrepresented their age, and minors were defined distinctly by the federal and provincial governments. 4 Canada has different categories of refugees. This group falls into the category of those who make a refugee claim once arriving on their own in Canada. Still others are resettled from abroad. Some among them will be sponsored by the government as government assisted refugees, and still others will be assisted through private sponsorship. Those resettled from abroad can also be categorized as "source country" and "asylum country" classes. The former are resettled directly from their home country, while the latter are resettled from another country outside of their source country where they did not fit the category of Convention refugee (United States Committee for Refugees 2000a). In 1999, Canada hosted 53,000 refugees and asylum seekers. According to the United States Committee for Refugees, 24,732 had cases pending, while 12,954 received refugee status in 1999. Canada resettled 9,777 from abroad, as well as 5,513 Kosovar refugees facilitated under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' (UNHCR's) humanitarian evacuation program (United States Committee for Refugees 2000a). Within Canada in 1999, the approval rate among those who sought asylum was 58%. Among asylum-seekers from the People's Republic of China, the approval rate was also 58% (United States Committee for Refugees 2000a). 5 Table 1.2 here: Empirical data on the four ships intercepted in 1999 Why this ethnography of this state's response to this migration at this time? In August of 1998, only one year before many of the smuggled migrants came by boat, I arrived in Canada from New York on a student visa to do a doctoral degree in geography at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. I had just completed a Master's degree during which time I worked with Salvadoran asylum applicants in the northeastern United States. Despite extensive political organizing throughout the 1990s, Salvadorans continued to face a low acceptance rate for asylum in the United States.5 After experiencing many years of legal limbo, only 3.3% of Salvadoran applicants received asylum in the US in 1997 (United States Committee for Refugees 1998b). Due to the lingering effects of cold war geopolitical relationships, these acceptance rates remained significantly lower than those for applicants from communist countries of origin such as Cuba.6 Through research, I had become involved in documenting Salvadorans' experiences of displacement and their efforts to lobby the US government for amnesty. Asylum applicants spoke to me of the powerful ways in which the nation-state influenced their daily lives. As a result, I was interested in the uneven application of asylum policy on the part of the federal government of the United States. Eventually, what emerged from this work of gathering migrant narratives was a desire to also understand and contribute narratives of civil servants to the dialogue on immigration. I begin here in order to explain how I came to study the nation-state in relation to transnational migration, but also to note that while this is a study of the daily life of institutions, I do not want to lose sight of the powerful material effects of policies in the daily lives of migrants and asylum applicants. In order to address questions about the role of the nation-state in ordering human migration, I decided to study government responses by employing research methods similar to those that I had exercised with undocumented and asylum-seeking migrants, only this time within the machinery of the immigration bureaucracy. With some important exceptions that I will review later in the thesis (Calavita 1992, Heyman 1995, Nevins 2002), little has been written about the work of federal immigration officers in the US, and still less about their work 5 This lower than average rejection rate could be interpreted as legitimizing violence in El Salvador where the US played a significant role in supporting the ruling regime throughout the 1980s 6 in Canada (exceptions here include Foster 1998, Ley 2003). Immigration scholars often discuss "the state" as though government were a unified decision-maker. But as the Canadian response to human smuggling in 1999 exemplifies, the term does not adequately convey the negotiations over resources and conflicting mandates that take place within and among governmental agencies. CIC itself plays conflicting roles in relation to immigration and relies upon other governmental and non-governmental institutions with other mandates in the response to human smuggling. My research findings illustrate complex geographies to the institutional response to smuggling that require conceptualization of intersecting institutional practices. The 1990s saw a burgeoning literature on transnational migration (e.g., Kearney 1991, Rouse 1991, Glick-Schiller et al. 1992). Much of this literature celebrated the ways in which migrants transcended international borders (Appadurai 1996), seemingly a powerful example of the waning power of the nation-state (Ohmae 1995). In Canada, this trend resonated with fears of the erosion of national borders which were tied to the popular perception that migrants "abused" a generous Refugee Determination Process (RDP) (Figure 1.4). Figure 1.4 here: Migrants tip Canadian authorities The political cartoon in Figure 1.4 shows migrants disembarking from a boat and tossing a coin to enforcement officers, asking them to pick up their bags. The migrants are depicted as arrogant and happy, while the Canadian authorities appear to be shy, helpless, and frustrated.7 As other scholars have argued (Mitchell 1997), the celebration of the dissolution of political borders for transnational migrants did not account for the constraints imposed by borders on others such as refugees and asylum-seekers for whom the state looms large in everyday life. Given previous research experiences in the United States, I arrived in Canada with a healthy skepticism and intellectual curiosity regarding the conflicting roles that federal governments play in regulating various streams of transnational migration. And as I soon learned, the responsibilities of the federal government regarding immigration indeed conflicted in Canada. Facing a constant fear of loss of sovereignty and diminished population and economic growth, Canada was furiously recruiting immigrants throughout the 1990s. Such 6 Despite the end of the cold war, the United States still favors asylum applicants from communist states. 7 recruitment pronounced itself vigorously in Vancouver, British Columbia where wealthier economic migrants had been immigrating in great numbers since the mid 1980s and finding a safe harbor for savings, investments, and family members in anticipation of the hand-over of Hong Kong from Great Britain to China in 1997 (Mitchell 1993, Ley 2003). The federal government of Canada invested heavily in immigration as a method of supplementing what had become a negative rate of natural population growth (Ley and Hiebert 2001) and of generating economic activity (Mitchell 1993). At the turn of the twenty-first century, Canada boasted the highest per capita rate of immigration in the world, more than two times that in the United States (New York Times, 2 October 2002). In the competition for the best and brightest - and wealthiest - Canada came out on top. With the marine arrivals from China, the conflicting roles of the federal government became ever more pronounced. While continuing to recruit some immigrants, the federal government - and specifically the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada - also needed to uphold an enforcement mandate and faced criticism for not having done so. Analysis of the response to human smuggling thus brings to light the tension between the two broad mandates of CIC: to police borders, while at the same time landing a total of 189,911 immigrants in 1999 (Citizenship and Immigration Canada 2000: 3). The government responded to the boat arrivals within an enforcement framework, while fulfilling its obligations as a signatory of the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees* and to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These were not the immigrants that Canada worked tirelessly to recruit. Rather, those who arrived by boat and made refugee claims in 1999 became the first refugee claimants imprisoned en masse in recent Canadian history, at great cost to the federal government and taxpayers. The tension between these objectives - to land approximately 1% 7 The Peace Arch News is a local paper for Surrey and White Rock, communities located along the BC side of the Canada-US border, near the Peach Arch monument at Douglass, a major border crossing point. 8 The 1951 Convention provides the formal definition of a refugee-in Article 1: "A person who is outside his/her country of nationality or habitual residence; has a well-founded fear of persecution because of his/her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and is unable or unwilling to avail himselfTherself of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution." It was approved by a UN special conference in 1951, the same year that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees came into being. Whereas the 1951 Convention was designed to manage European refugees in the aftermath of World War II, the 1967 Protocol to the Convention expanded its scope geographically and temporally. As of 1 April 2003, there were 141 signatories to the 1951 Convention and 139 signatories to the 1967 Protocol. Canada signed both in 1967 (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2003). 8 of the population annually9 and to practice enforcement effectively - serves as one backdrop for this thesis, and for the daily work of federal employees in immigration. Differences in mandate and location within the bureaucracy provoked differing opinions regarding where to invest in resources of time, money, and people and played out daily in the offices of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. This tension emerged again in new immigration legislation proposed in the spring of 2000, months after the first boat arrived. While this legislation was underway well before the boat arrivals, then Minister of Immigration, Elinor Caplan, framed and presented Bill C-1110 as an attempt to "close the back door" to irregular migration in order to "open the front door" to legal immigration.11 Compounding this conflict was the political nature of those who led the federal government. As one Vancouver-based bureaucrat explained to me, "For them, this is a career. For me, it's a job." Bureaucrats frequently distinguished themselves in this manner from those who ran CIC in Ottawa. They also tended to express frustration with the politicized shifts in priorities that complicated their day-to-day work. This tension in the relationship between politics and bureaucracy emerged most vividly when bureaucrats discussed the relationship between federal departments and the media. In fact, the stress of managing the external environment was the anxiety most frequently cited by government staff responding to human smuggling. Therefore, one overarching theme holding together research findings presented in this thesis is how, and to what extent, the federal government responded to pressure from the media. Whereas human smuggling takes place across Canadian land borders and airports in greater numbers than by sea on a daily basis,12 the boat arrivals particularly captured the attention of the Canadian public and the international media. In fact, the 1999 arrivals signaled a shift in discourse about, and public sentiment towards, immigration to Canada more broadly (McGuinness 2001, Hier and Greenberg 2002, Mahtani and Mountz 2002) (Figure 1.5). 9 This has been a long-standing policy objective of the federal Liberal Party (see Ley and Hiebert 2001). 1 0 Bill C-11 was revised and again tabled as the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act in the House of Commons during the following February (2001) as Bill C-31. The legislation reintroduced heavy penalties, including $1 million and up to life in prison for human smugglers. 11 CIC news release, 14 June 2000. "'By saying 'No' more quickly to people who would abuse our rules, we are able to say 'Yes' more often to the immigrants and refugees Canada will need to grow and prosper in the years ahead," said Minister Caplan." CIC news release, 21 February 2001. 1 2 It is estimated that between 24,000 and 45,000 people move into or through Canada per year. This estimate was provided to me by employees of CIC. 9 Figure 1.5 here: "Enough Already" headlines The Province As illustrated in the extreme by the front-page image in Figure 1.5 that recorded the arrival of the third boat, the media constructed the marine arrivals as a crisis for the federal government. Media coverage and public opinion converged and seemed to take on a life of their own. The dramatization of the events spiraled quickly and sparked anti-immigration sentiment to a degree that Canada had not seen in many years. Boats of migrants had arrived earlier in the twentieth century - as I will detail later - but the boats from China arrived at a particular moment in time. British Columbia's economy had been waning since 1996, destabilized further by the Asian economic crisis of 1997 and 1998. In terms of investment, the Hong Kong migration had not provided the miraculous answer to BC's economic woes for which many had hoped (Ley 2003). Politically, the Canadian Alliance, a right-wing political party interested in lowering rates of immigration to Canada, was gaining power across the country, as was the conservative BC Liberal Party in the Province.13 Canada was not alone in developing a response to human smuggling and trafficking in the 1990s. By 1999, the illicit movement of people in a modern-day form of indentured servitude had intensified in terms of quantity and public awareness around the globe (Smith 1997). Boats of smuggled migrants were also arriving off the shores of Australia, the United States, and Central America. When intercepted, most smuggled migrants made refugee claims. Most immigrant-receiving nations, unprepared for the increasing quantity of applications, faced backlogs. It is within this time lapse that more conservative politicians throughout North America accused the Canadian government of harboring terrorists and other criminal populations who were charged with "abusing" a "generous" system that granted them temporary permission to stay until the outcome of their case was determined by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). While most smuggled migrants do not fit the definition of a "convention refugee" - as outlined by the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees - some do. On these grounds, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has argued that because states are stepping up interception practices abroad, it is becoming more difficult for migrants to reach refugee-granting states such as Canada and the 10 United States.14 "Convention refugees" are, therefore, increasingly employing the services of human smugglers to reach those signatory states in order to make claims (Koser 2000, Nadig 2002). Ethnographic research on the bureaucratic management of immigration is necessary to understand these trends and their relationship to the implementation - and design - of federal policy. Research on the day-to-day work of civil servants brings into relief the geography of contact between state practices and smuggled migrants or potential refugee claimants. Discourse, smuggling, and refugees The policing of boundaries around the definition of the "convention refugee" brings us to the central analytical place of discourse, representation, and identity in this thesis. Discourse is central to the transformation in political power - identified by Michel Foucault (1991, 1995) -from sovereign to disciplinary practices exercised by nation-states. Discourse is also central to my approach to understanding the ways in which nation-states mediate transnational migration, and central to the politicized struggles over the "boat migrants" accused of "cutting the queue." As the migrants arrived, parties such as CIC, refugee advocates, immigration lawyers, and the media each held a stake in their identification. The lexicon of immigration perpetually evolves and alters to reflect changing political contexts in receiving states (Ellis and Wright 1998, Nevins 2002). In the late 1990s, refugee and asylum-seekers in North America, Western Europe, and Australia increasingly received the nomenclature of "illegal," "bogus," and "economic migrants," and were, therefore, often seen as illegitimate refugee claimants. Following the boat arrivals in Canada, the press brought "illegal alien" - a term more commonly used to reference unauthorized migration to the US - into circulation (McGuinness 2001). "Transnational organized crime" also became a common buzzword. Recently, a trend toward the criminalization of refugee applicants writ large has accompanied the shifting channels of international migration flows increasingly associated with human smuggling. Throughout the thesis, I will develop the argument that discourse demonstrates the influence of competing political interests on the response to human smuggling. 1 3 The BC Liberal Party was elected to assume leadership of the Province in 2001. 1 4 UNHCR Summary Position on the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention against Transnational Organized crime. 11 December 2000. 11 Because the language of migration is bound up with political struggles and power relations, I am mindful of terminology. The media labeled the migrants "queue jumpers," "bogus refugees," and "boat migrants." Discursive constructions have material consequences, and this value-laden parlance may have potentially influenced the refugee determination process for this group.15 I refer to the group as refugee claimants because they made claims upon arrival and proceeded through Canada's refugee determination process. I also refer to them as migrants because they did not have the legal or financial means or intentions to immigrate to Canada to settle in the long-term as immigrants. The terminology of human smuggling itself is contested. There are, however, commonly accepted, broad definitions of human smuggling and trafficking. Whereas human smuggling - defined most simply - entails "the illicit movement of people across international boundaries" (Koser 2001: 59), the term "human trafficking" tends to be associated with the coercive movement of women and children, often into the particularly exploitative niches of the global sex trade and child labor. The UN Protocols on Human Smuggling and Trafficking (United Nations 2000) identify coercion and exploitation on both ends of the journey as the main elements that distinguish trafficking from smuggling. Whereas coercion involves people moving and working against their will, exploitation means that they work in poor conditions for substandard wages. Kristof Van Impe (2000: 120) suggests that trafficking is the "degeneration" of smuggling that signals a loss of control on the part of clients who slip further into the grip of exploitation because they cannot pay their way out of debt. I use the term human smuggling in my discussion of the 1999 boat arrivals because the migrants fit more accurately the commonly-accepted definition of human smuggling and because it is the term used by the federal government and other institutions to classify the boat arrivals. Still, I find the distinction between these two terms to be more ambiguous than officials often seem to believe, more a matter of degree than dichotomy. The distinction is easily debunked because so little is known about the conditions under which individuals are smuggled or trafficked and the conditions in which they ultimately live and work at the final destination (see Kwong 1997, Chin 1999). Furthermore, there are few clear parameters surrounding the definition of work that is exploitative or journeys that are made coercively. These terms once again represent the awkward ambiguities of the language used by government 1 51 will make the case for both sides of this debate, based on research interviews, in chapters six and seven. 12 and supra-government bodies' in their efforts to categorize transnational migration. So while I use the term human smuggling in reference to the 1999 arrivals, the arguments made in this thesis extend to and will engage with the growing literature on human trafficking (e.g., Macklin 2001, Oxman-Martinez et al. 2001).16 Drawing on Scott's approach to policy in Seeing Like a State (1998), this thesis attempts to see human smuggling like a state in order to understand the analytical and operational disparities between human smugglers, nation-states, and the global community in which they act. Despite an expanding dialogue about human smuggling and trafficking, nation-states generally know very little about the networks of people behind these acts, and the conditions under which migrants make such difficult journeys. Vision, scale, and linguistic exercises in classification are central to understanding the perspective of the state. In its attempts to receive and process migrants, the bureaucracy must categorize distinct transnational flows. This management strategy often inhibits a more nuanced understanding of migration and results in distilled discourse about human smuggling. Migrants themselves tend not to identify with the various categories of migration delineated by individual states or the international community of states, such as "economic" versus "political," "legitimate" versus "bonafide," "legal" versus "illegal." In fulfilling their responsibility to see and place migrants in such categories, civil servants who must implement policies sometimes miss the grayer areas between categories within which most people seek to improve the lives of their families by migrating. In a highly geographical approach, Scott (1998) addresses the ways in which states see and order the landscape. Through a wide-ranging series of examples, Scott illustrates that states attempt to impose order on the landscape through projects and policies. In the management of human migration, states attempt to order the landscape by categorizing migrants and designing policy to correspond with each category such as independent, family, business, or refugee classes. Civil servants face constraints imposed by international borders, law, finance, and a multitude of jurisdictional boundaries that impair their sight. As a result, 1 61 avoid using the term "trafficking" loosely so as not to disrupt the momentum generated by a movement of women's groups in particular that have become politicized around "human trafficking" specifically, which to them signals the coercive movement of women and children into exploitative niches, and particularly the sex trade. It is interesting to note that these distinctions are reflected in the language and strategies of federal departments. In other words, whereas CIC confronts human smuggling within an enforcement framework, Status of Women Canada wonders if the 1999 arrivals fit into the definition of "human trafficking," and if so, if the claimants should be granted permission to stay in Canada on the basis of gender-based persecution. 13 they behave reactively in relation to human smuggling, policing borders with practices such as interception, detention, and prosecution, to name a few. Smugglers, contrarily, work strategically with and across international borders at a very local scale precisely to elude the bureaucratic vision of the nation-state that imposes grids, borders, and order upon the landscape from a distance (Scott 1998). Not bogged down with bureaucracy themselves, smugglers shift smuggling routes and methods much more quickly than nation-states shift investigative or preventative strategies. Viewed through the lens of human smuggling, it is easier for smugglers to elude the law than it is for governments to enforce it. In this regard, smugglers appear to be better equipped for flexibility in relation to the local geographies of international borders and global migrations than are nation-states. While the scale of out-migration from China has likely decreased in recent years (Skeldon 2000a: 12-13), its channels and routes change perpetually. Out-migration by boat remains historically and culturally consistent with centuries of out-migration from Fujian (Hood 1997, Kwong 1997, Chin 1999). The recent shift to unflagged cargo ships first made itself known to North America in 1993 with the grounding of the Golden Venture in New York Harbor (Kwong 1997, Chin 1999). Among the most dynamic contexts of these migration flows is the political context of the receiving nation-states. Immigration receiving states often believe - incorrectly - that they can turn streams of transnational migrants on or off like they would an electric switch. But shifts in public sentiment and political will towards immigration in the receiving nation do not necessarily correspond with the conditions or "push factors" that contribute to out-migration in the source country. Complicating the situation for Canada, and contextually important to understanding this movement from Fujian, is the geographical proximity of Canada to the US. Recent census data estimate that approximately eight to nine million undocumented migrants reside in the US (Center for Immigration Studies 2003). Substantial evidence shows that the migrants on the four boats from Fujian intended to join this population to live and work in the United States, but made refugee claims in Canada when intercepted by the Canadian authorities.17 While the US applied constant pressure to Canada and Mexico to enforce borders and curb migration streams, the US was itself complicit in undocumented migration because of the role that migrant labor played in supporting a booming economy in the 1990s. 14 Nation-states look carefully to one another for trends in the global game of smuggling and design policies in relation to one another. A commonly-held perception among the enforcement community is that the "weaker" or "softer" states will receive smuggled migrants. In other words, as Australia and the United States take interception control practices to new levels by turning away boats in the open seas before they can land, the perception is that the smugglers will easily divert routes to other nation-states where they are less likely to be intercepted. The practice of turning boats away calls into question the integrity of the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol to which Canada is a signatory. There are many scales through which this migration and the federal response can be understood, and one of my objectives in this thesis is to show how the phenomenon of human smuggling and states themselves are constructed distinctly at different scales through discourse about smuggling and refugees. Geographies of the nation-state This thesis contends that the practices of the nation-state must be examined in relation to transnational migration, and in turn, understood as a diverse network of employees that interact with a variety of institutions in order to enact federal immigration policy. I endeavor to understand how the state "sees" human smuggling by examining the response to the four boats of migrants from Fujian in 1999. An ethnography of the daily practices of enforcement carried out by bureaucrats leads me to theorize the state as a network. I also articulate the construction of scale as central to the geography of the nation-state. Analysis at a variety of scales uncovers a variety of relationships, interests, and negotiations in which state practices are embedded. These findings suggest a shift in the spatiality of federal governance of human smuggling and refugees and a move toward statelessness, accompanied by discourse that delegitimizes refugee claimants. I develop a conceptual understanding of the geography of the Canadian nation-state in order to understand efforts to control transnational migration. My theoretical approach to geographies of the nation-state includes the time-space relations across which state practices take place, the everyday implementation of policy, the taxonomy of migrations, and the constitution of borders through governance. I "jump scale" - as geographers do - in order to 1 71 will discuss this evidence in subsequent chapters as the narrative unfolds. 15 understand the global "game" that smugglers and nation-states play through close examination of the response to the boat arrivals at a regional or local level. I will argue that such an approach is key to understanding the relationship between nation-states, transnational migration, and the global environment. After prying apart the interwoven geographies of the nation-state in the response to human smuggling, I will return to the definition of the convention refugee. The changing taxonomy of state interventions into transnational migration should prompt the global community to re-think and expand this definition, an argument that I develop at the end of the thesis. Preliminary notes on methodology After sending a research proposal and accompanying letter of support to the Regional Director General (RDG) of the Regional Headquarters (RHQ) of CIC, I began research in 1999 with a bold invitation issued by the RDG to sit at a desk in the local office at 800 Burrard Street, Vancouver. This desk would serve as a base of operation from which I would interact with, observe, and interview employees in immigration about their roles in response to the boat arrivals. Due to political circumstances that I will discuss further, the conditions under which I was able to conduct research changed once I began to spend time at RHQ in August of 2000. By the day, messages from the Department of Justice, relayed to me through the human resources contact in the office, altered the conditions of my work until it was nearly impossible to do research. These messages culminated in orders for my removal from RHQ in September of 2000. This experience hints broadly at the challenges to doing research on the state and more specifically to the controversial nature of this particular response to this particular migration. While I will discuss these methodological experiences and the important contexts surrounding them further in chapter three, I begin here intentionally. This thesis relays a history from many perspectives, and most fully from the perspective of employees of the federal government, but ultimately it offers my own interpretation of events. In the last two decades, qualitative research has moved away from ideals of objectivism towards the reality of subjectivism, of the presence of the researcher in the narrative, and the telling of partial and "situated knowledges" (D. Smith 1990, Haraway 1991, Behar 1996, Rose 1997). I am present throughout the thesis in an effort to be accountable to readers, to relay "the view from 16 somewhere," as Donna Haraway (1991) has urged. What I learned was very much contingent upon who was willing to talk with me, their positions and politics, the research methods, and contexts of interaction. That said, there are methods of qualitative research and empirical rigor that I follow carefully in order to identify empirical patterns in data that substantiate findings. Furthermore, I attempted to be comprehensive. I conducted semi-structured interviews with as many people involved in the reception of the boats as possible. This included interviews with members of federal departments, provincial ministries, non-governmental organizations, supra-state human rights monitors, immigration lawyers, and the media. I also conducted participant-observation, media content analysis, and archival research. Archives included documents filed on site at RHQ in Vancouver pertaining to boat arrivals, such as instruction manuals and reports, communications strategies, memos, and e-mail messages, as well as documents released to the public during the 24 months following the boat arrivals. According to Diane Nelson (1999), the state is constitutive of identity, and people, through their identities, are constitutive of the state and its power. The many people who participated in this research, whether working for the government or in another capacity, indeed constitute the state. Likewise, as the author, I too have the power and authority to delineate the borders surrounding the state, just as the state delineates my own identity and status as a foreign student in Canada and that of others, such as business immigrants, refugee claimants, and "irregular" migrants. While I interviewed most people who worked with the migrants in some institutional capacity, I decided during the incipient stages of research not to try to interview the migrants themselves for reasons related to ethics and protection. The migrants were under intense scrutiny on the part of various governmental and non-governmental parties from the moment they arrived. Most of the claimants were detained in prisons run by BC Corrections until deported. The government monitored and translated telephone calls from prison and mail sent to the prison in an effort to determine their identities and relationships to the smuggling networks. Meanwhile, the human smugglers threatened the safety of their families while also attempting to infiltrate government procedures in order to remove the claimants from detention or to abduct unaccompanied minors from group homes, at times successfully. While a strong proponent of research that gathers migrant narratives, I decided neither to contribute to the clamoring around the migrants, nor to potentially risk their careful negotiations between formal 17 and informal networks and institutions. This thesis is not about the migrants themselves, but rather about the institutional dimensions of their reception and processing in Canada. Adding to the challenges to doing research with government, the rate of turnover in the bureaucracy was substantial. Not many of the people originally involved when the boats arrived occupied the same position when I conducted research soon thereafter. This discovery affirms the notion that bureaucracies often have little institutional memory. This thesis, drawing on the poignant experiences of all involved, will document, analyze, and contribute to a cross-institutional dialogue about the response to human smuggling in ways that the federal government may not have the capacity to do. I protect those who participated in the research by maintaining their anonymity. I do so by altering aspects of their identities and, only on rare occasions, the source of information. I faced many ethical quandaries while doing research on a sensitive issue within a sensitive department. These dilemmas taught me about the bureaucracy and about the response to human smuggling and are therefore central to the thesis. Chapter outline The thesis proceeds by explaining in chapter two the geographical approach to the nation-state implemented in this study. There, I join other scholars in countering the myth of the monolithic state. I outline my own theoretical approach that involves overlapping geographies of the nation-state drawn at different scales through which civil servants interact. This quotidian approach positions the state as an everyday series of practices and suggests the spatial metaphor of the network to understand the interactions between institutional actors and smuggled migrants. In the third chapter, I outline the methodological approach to this project, "an ethnography of the state." While several studies in the field of anthropology self-categorize as "ethnographies of the state," no comprehensive analysis of these writings or systematic attempt to delineate the approach has been executed. I see this as a burgeoning interdisciplinary genre and review these works in order to develop the approach. This entails a discussion of the challenges to "studying up" (Nader 1972) and the ways in which such challenges inform this thesis. In the fourth chapter, "If it looks like a duck:" Seeing Human Smuggling Like a State," provides background on both the global trends in human smuggling and trafficking and the 18 ways in which governments and social scientists have addressed them. I discuss the 1999 response to the smuggling of Fujianese migrants to British Columbia in relation to overall global trends in the management of refugee flows in the late 1990s. I illustrate that both the activities of the nation-state and incidents of human smuggling are mutually produced for different audiences at different scales. Central to the relationship between the two is the issue of how the state "sees" human smuggling (Scott 1998). Understanding management on the part of the bureaucracy requires analysis of the categorization of transnational flows and the public discourse in which those categories are embedded and, therefore, must link representations to scale. The fifth chapter, "Life in the Fishbowl" enters into the day-to-day experiences of the response at CIC. Organized thematically, the chapter addresses the challenges faced by CIC employees to responding in a time of crisis and the everyday cultural practices in which their work and decision-making processes were embedded. I highlight the importance of the geography of the Department and illustrate the need to apply a scaled approach to the enactment of the nation-state. Conflicts over the mandates of the Department come to the fore as an organizing theme for those in the field. Analysis of the daily work of immigration bureaucrats illustrates networks at work and enables a discussion of what it is that ethnographic research illuminates about state practices of the management of migration. In the sixth chapter, I examine the interactions of CIC employees with provincial and non-governmental institutional actors in order to understand the geography of state practices as embodied networks. I explain the role played by different institutions in the response as well as their relationships to CIC through cross-institutional collaboration. These respondents often offered alternative narratives of border management to those of federal employees. They revealed differences in institutional cultures and mandates and the possibility for improved dialogue between governmental and non-governmental actors. I am interested here in the geography of these organizations, in their institutional roles and political strategies, and in which among them influenced state practices and why. State practices must, therefore, be conceptualized in conjunction with non-state institutions. The seventh chapter, "Embodiment, containment, and geographies of access" explores the role of the media and the homogenizing forces imposed on representations of the boat arrivals. Here, I will discuss the objectives and roles of the communications branch of CIC and 19 evaluate the print media as a space of transmission and dialogue between government and civil society. This chapter draws on feminist theories of embodiment and explores the relationship between body and state. It revisits the excessive desire of the federal government for a positive external image and explores the interface between discourse and materiality with contemplation of geographies of the body and the 1999 interceptions. The concluding chapter pulls the pieces of the thesis together in a culminating argument about bureaucracy and human smuggling. I contemplate some of the contexts in which this project is situated and identify a move toward statelessness on the part of nation-states. There, I also contemplate the relationship between policymakers and researchers. I suggest ways in which nation-states are respatializing through the governance of smuggling and refugees. There is no doubt that the governing Liberal Party of Canada has decided that high immigration rates are its preferred method to build a multicultural population. Like other immigrant-receiving nation-states, Canada wants to recruit the best, brightest, and wealthiest immigrants to Canada, but not those who escape poverty. As a result, economic disparities between immigrant-receiving and source countries continue to grow. As this thesis will show, the federal government of Canada has not yet entirely worked through the complexity of enacting both facilitative and enforcement mandates under the same government, let alone within the same department. * * * * Bureaucrats suggested to me during the course of my research that researchers need to provide more succinct summaries of their work, including policy recommendations listed by bullet point for civil servants who do not have the time or inclination to wade their way through verbose academic papers (Charlton et al. 2002: 41). I am cognizant of having multiple audiences to this thesis and the subsequent papers and reports that will follow. Among the most important lessons that I learned from civil servants in my first month of research is an oft-quoted phrase among them: "Don't ask permission, just ask forgiveness." With this in mind, as the narratives of what happened from July 1999 onward unfold throughout this thesis, I proceed with a commitment to "get it right," knowing all too well the impossibility of such a goal. I aim to sift through differing narratives about the response to human smuggling. The narrative of one will not be the same for all. Nonetheless, the events of "The Summer of the Boats" marked a season to be recorded in Canadian history; one that served as 20 the impetus for new institutions, policies, precedents, and cross-institutional relationships. Those involved recounted dramatic narratives of emotional encounters, high stakes, exhaustion, philosophical divides, struggles over resources, and conflict. My objective is not to criticize Citizenship and Immigration Canada, but rather to understand the work of civil servants, to understand how national borders and transnational migrants are imagined and managed, and to link the work objectives and challenges of Canada to global trends. I will do my best to represent the experiences of civil servants whom I came to know and interview as accurately as possible, and ask their forgiveness later. 21 Table 1.1 A chronology of events Date July 1998 7 July 1999 20 July 1999 9 August 1999 16 August 1999 30 August 1999 September 1999 9 September 1999 November 1999 April 2000 10 May 2000 3 June 2000 July 2000 27 July 2000 August 2000 September 2000 October 2000 December 2000 April 2001 Event Suspected smuggling ship at Winter Harbour "Ghost ship" boat scuttled, Queen Charlotte Islands, migrants intercepted inland First boat intercepted on the water at Nootka Sound Workpoint Gym set-up for processing in Esquimalt Second boat intercepted at Gilbert Bay Trial of Korean crew members from second boat begins Third boat intercepted at Esperanza Inlet Pringe George Regional Correctional Centre re-opened Refugee claimant hearings begin Fourth boat intercepted at Nootka Sound Hunger strikes at Prince George Regional Correctional Centre (PGRCC), Burnaby Correctional Centre for Women (BCCW), Surrey Pre-Trial Centre, Vancouver Pre-Trial Centre Minister Elinor Caplan travels to China to discourage smuggling Riot in Prince George Correctional facility 90 migrants deported by chartered plane Seven migrants escape the PGRCC and are intercepted and returned Hunger strike at PGRCC 90 migrants deported by chartered plane Author begins research at CIC RHQ Korean crew from second boat acquitted in Victoria Visit from UN special investigator on human rights of migrants Hunger strike at BCCW and at PGRCC PGRCC closed Several women still in detention at BCCW (DAARE 2001) 22 its rt IPS Ov * + O N * vo O N ro Ov V O r - r» Ov <n f » o\ >n ov ro a oo vo ro Ov —i . r - - ^ * (N (N <N m CM V j O i Z W r t N r t r H H h H O >/-> r - ro _ - s _ O v r - T t o o u - i r o u - > r o W r o > - H C N ' - « c N ' — ' ro •—• s: s? k * * * cn >, da Ul o o Ov V O i o + o 0 0 0 0 ro Ov ro If-) ro u o ro cn H " 1 0 0 T3 • c a o U 0 0 g . C 3 « 33 52 5 ^ O ro" ro S . s o h ° o v c N O > / - i o o f N > ° 3 0 rt : oo rt cn 4> "5 4) > n 2 — o •Sgl <o «8 rt H I cn cn £ 6 23 Peace Arch News - September 4,1999 Figure 1.4 Migrants tip Canadian authorities 24 TOMORROW: 72-PAGE GUIDE TO Check out B.C's most ... :.JfoJ-' *•* weather information HE I I II A A I I weather information NDY £ [ ^ ^ e a t ' i e r According to Stone Sharon on love, Leonardo and LA. Take a Break Clouds, sunny later Details, A7 Wednesday, September 1,1S39 S « ' l\ 1.1 PROVINCE Wed 1 5 « 0 800 8 U R R A R D S T ^ 6 4 1 i l O O years Coin tax: 7St Vancouver, B.C. vnrvw.vuntouverproviiice.i As a third wave of migrants arrives, an exclusive poll of B.C. MPs finds most saying: ENOUGH ALREADY It's time to toughen the lawy A rusting freighter packed with Chinese migrants Is escorted by the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Tanu near the coast of Vancouver Island yesterday. Figure 1.5 "Enough Already" headlines The Province. Source: The Province, 1 September 1999 chapter 2 enforcing geographies of the nation-state In this chapter, I outline a conceptual framework to understand the daily work of border enforcement through a geographical lens. I aim to show that "the state," often positioned as a set of structural constraints imposed on migrants, is in fact much more than its policies and their effects. I argue that nation-states do not exist as monoliths but rather as a series of embodied relationships and networks working at multiple scales best understood vis-a-vis daily practices of enforcement. The project of locating civil servants and asylum seekers within these networks illustrates the respatialization of the state in relation to refugees. The chapter begins with a series of vignettes that illustrate this point. It continues with a discussion of what and where the state is not in the literature on transnational migration, and then ensues with a discussion that locates the state geographically through the daily work of civil servants who manage international borders from within a federal bureaucracy. I posit that state practices function as networks and put this metaphor to work to understand the response to human smuggling. I explain how I conceptualize geographies of the nation-state informed by concepts of scale, spatiality, power, and human agency. ' * * * * Citizenship and Immigration Canada's (CIC) operations to intercept ships carrying migrants on the water in 1999 were named "Operation Osprey" for the tendency of osprey to hover above the water and then swoop down quickly on their prey. The operation was designed "to enhance immigration's profile on the water front."1 When immigration officers embarked on Operation Osprey for the first time in July 1999, their dependence on other federal departments was immediately a source of stress. CIC held ultimate responsibility for responding to a ship of migrants, but none of the resources to do so. As one manager explained, "Smuggling is an immigration problem, but we have no assets; just human resources."2 A successful operation on the water therefore required successful working relationships with federal partners, such as the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG, the Department 1 E-mail from CIC employee, 4 January 2000, released to the public. 2 Interview, Victoria, March 2001. 25 26 of Fisheries and Oceans) and the Department of National Defence (DND), who supported the response with surveillance planes, vessels that served as platforms from which to board the boats, and a site in which to process the migrants.3 These and other federal departments involved in the response had differing mandates and distinctive institutional cultures that related particularly to their status as investigative bodies. CIC is often seen by other federal departments as "soft" from investigative and enforcement perspectives and unable to protect information. In the early 1990s, CIC lost its status as an investigative body, and along with it, the right of the Department to both access and protect certain kinds of information. There was tension among the various institutions involved about sharing information and about goals in an operation and subsequent investigation. While the RCMP had primarily investigative concerns, for example, CIC employees worked to enact mandates to both enforce border control and protect refugee claimants. These institutional differences manifested in the day-to-day interactions among federal employees and factored into collaboration during tabletop exercises held in the spring and later, during actual responses on the water once the boats arrived in the summer. CIC's Marine Response Team (MRT) and the RCMP's Emergency Response Team (ERT) overcame these larger tensions in their work on the water with effective leadership. One of the leaders of the operation on the water from CIC explained how lucky he believed the Department was to have him involved. As a former "military man" himself, he explained that he understood the formal hierarchy upon which the operations of military departments rested. He remarked to me that he understood what the patches on officers' sleeves meant, even though CIC did not follow such a hierarchy operationally. He also explained that because he himself was a man with no large ego to massage, he was able to interact well with managers in other local offices to finesse the teamwork and trust required among agencies for a successful interception.4 * * * * Even with the effective leadership and teamwork that took place during the four interceptions, for which every member of the MRT won achievement awards from CIC RHQ during the following year, the team had many challenges to overcome during their response on 3 There were a total of ten federal departments involved in the 1999 response. 4 Interview, Victoria, March 2001. 27 the water. One of the earliest examples of conflict involved the limit demarcating the end of national territorial waters and the beginning of the "high seas" or international waters. The arms of the state could not agree on its basic geography and boundaries. This boundary lies twelve miles off any given point on shore and marks the beginning of the jurisdiction in which Canadian vessels can approach suspicious vessels such as those that carried the migrants. Different sets of protocols guide each move that Canadian federal departments make. The boundaries of interception and arrest were negotiated not only on the water, but via satellite over the telephone between those leading operations on the water, those coordinating from Central Command in Vancouver, and those following and dictating moves on the other end of the line at National Headquarters (NHQ) in Ottawa. Civil servants responding on the water complained that those working in office towers in Ottawa did not understand the geographical challenges to responding within this range on rough seas along a rugged coast. Furthermore, none of the interceptions played out in quite the same manner. The interception of the second boat involved a particularly harrowing set of circumstances for both migrants and responding authorities. Once the boat had been sighted by authorities, a chase ensued on and off for nearly two days. During this time, the crew of the ship managed to drop the migrants - including the largest group of minors to arrive on the four boats, some among them young children - and ordered them to hike over a rise to a village to meet contacts once they had reached the rocky shore. No such village existed in this remote area. When authorities arrived, the migrants had started a fire but suffered from hypothermia because they were wet and inappropriately dressed for cold temperatures. Meanwhile, the cargo ship was fleeing for international waters at a high speed. While CIC's MRT performed medical triage on the beach and search and rescue in the area,5 the RCMP went after the ship that had dropped the migrants and was now on the run. A hot pursuit ensued, along with several miscommunications. The boat evaded capture, forcing the MRT and Coast Guard to pursue at high speeds in the MV Tanu in a cat-and-mouse chase (Globe & Mail, 12 August 1999). With the Canadian media reporting the ship's arrival, CIC was already in the limelight and pressured by "Ottawa" not to miss this interception. At one point during the pursuit, the boat disappeared 5 This was a complex decision because of the geography of this operation. The beach was inaccessible, and authorities discussed the possibility of having supplies airdropped to them on the beach where they would set-up camp with the migrants for a few days while conducting search and rescue for escaped migrants. Interview, Victoria, March 2001. 28 from the horizon, concealed by a quick succession of erratic changes in direction and a thick fog. One respondent I interviewed explained a moment of silence that ensued on the accompanying conference call during which participants on the line wondered which among them would lose their job. When the MRT finally approached the ship, the crew would not respond to commands hailed in Mandarin to stop and identify themselves. As it turned out, the nine crew members were Korean and did not understand Mandarin. Once arrested and prosecuted in the Canadian supreme court, the Korean crew argued that their ship had been pirated by human smugglers, and they were forced to deliver the migrants. They were eventually acquitted. * * * * Transnationalism and the nation-state These vignettes illustrate the complexity of institutional decision-making with regard to the role of the nation-state in managing transnational migration, including the involvement of different departments, the importance of personalities and relationships, and different interpretations of policy across time and space. Much of the early literature on transnational migration, however, gave slight treatment to this aspect of the state. By definition, transnational migration entails people's transgressions of international borders and other constraints imposed by states. Glick-Schiller et al. (1992) in an early, pivotal piece defined transmigrants as people who "develop and maintain multiple relations - familial, economic, social, organizational, religious, and political - that span borders" (ix). Contemporary research on transnational migration often foregrounds migrant narratives to theorize dynamic subjectivities, interventions into what were once primarily structural macro-narratives of immigration (e.g., Silvey and Lawson 1999, Lawson 2000, McHugh 2000). Because they focused on movement and the transgression of international borders, early transnational theorists tended to write about human mobility in celebratory fashion, wherein movement was a triumph over the constraints of borders (see Mitchell 1997 for a critique). Basch, Glick Schiller, and Szanton Blanc, for example, argued, "Still to be explained are the processes by which national identity and nationalism spring up in opposition to state power" (1994: 35). They thus tended to overlook the structural impediments to mobility (Silvey and Lawson 1999). In fact, much of the literature sustained the theory that the nation-state was 29 defunct in a post-colonial, post-national era (see Ohmae 1995, Appadurai 1996, Anderson 2000) in which easy border crossings and dual citizenship illustrated the ability of migrants to transgress the political boundaries of the nation-state. Often, tomes on immigration address state practices as an afterthought, part of the concluding policy recommendations. But the state's actions are not only reactive, but also often proactive, and require more sustained contemplation. At multiple and mutually constitutive scales, from the multilateral arrangements that cross borders to interviews in refugee camps that determine entrances and exclusions (e.g., Hyndman 2000), states shape mobility and displacement in powerful ways, not in the least as a cause of displacement and refugee flows. Where present in theories of transnationalism, however, the state often masquerades as a static, monolithic structure against which migrants struggle. This type of writing about immigration and transnationalism reifies rather than problematizes the apparent inaccessibility and disembodiment of the state. For instance, the silence of immigration officers in conceptual models of migration normalizes the taken-for-granted right of the state to define categories of human displacement and to determine legality and illegality (see Kearney 1991, Heyman 1995, Hyndman 2000, Nevins 2002). This silence also erases differences within the state. Bureaucracies, where civil servants govern immigration policies, often reinforce this concealment. As such, scholarship on immigration requires deeper contemplation of "the state," and specifically, the bureaucracy, in order to demystify and deconstruct notions of homogeneity among decision-makers.6 The four boats to BC brought issues of transnational flows and the porosity of borders to the fore by provoking intense public debate in Canada regarding the sovereignty of the nation-state, manifest in the perception of its inability to police international borders. Debates about the permeability of North American international borders were present long before the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C. on 11 September 2001, but have since intensified. This work contributes to a growing interest in the literature on transnational migration in the powerful role that nation-states play in mediating migration by scripting the identities of transnational subjects (e.g., Tyner 2000, Sharma 2001, Walton-Roberts 2001, Mountz et al. 61 understand the bureaucracy to be only one part of "the state," but it is a place where one can see all of the parts of the state in action as civil servants put the law, financial resources, and various institutions to work. 30 2002, Nevins 2002). For the same reason that the complexity of migrants' quotidian lives challenged econometric push-pull models of migration (Kearney 1991, Rouse 1991, Rouse 1992, Silvey and Lawson 1999, Lawson 2000, McHugh 2000), it is equally important to include the lives, roles, and decision-making processes of those involved in the governance of immigration. As the opening vignettes of this chapter show, standard analyses of policy or practice do not account for the sometimes chaotic environments within which civil servants enact policy, much as individuals make decisions about their own lives in a chaotic environment not easily accounted for in some conceptual models of immigration. Institutional ethnography (D. Smith 1987) constitutes an effort to include state practices that have been normalized in relation to human displacement. Rather than move beyond the state, I propose that we move inside its everyday enactment; into the bureaucracy and behind public policy, narrative, and organizational structure (Heyman and Smart 1999, Hansen and Stepputat 2001). The state is neither monolith nor "ghost-like" apparition The discipline of geography has been tied to the state over the years in all sorts of ways, as an important tool for military strategists looking at the geography of states and strategies of war,7 to an electronic tool for local enforcement officers interested in mapping crime. For many years following the inception of the subdiscipline, political geographers essentially spatialized the state-centered international relations analyses of political scientists (e.g., Glassner 1993, cf. Agnew and Corbridge 1995), to the exclusion of many practices and relationships in which state actors were embedded. 8 Academics often reify the idea of the powerful state through abstraction, a practice with material effects that underscore the need to embody the state. Social scientists often theorize "the state" as an abstract concept. Phillip Abrams called this "the idea of the state" (1988: 77), an abstraction to which Timothy Mitchell attributed "ghost-like" qualities (1991: 91). Michael Taussig also queried the ghost-like status of the state by asking in The Magic of the State (1997), "Could it be that with disembodiment, presence expands?" (3). In other words, in much scholarship in the social sciences, the state was something elusive, "out there" (Mitchell 1991: 94), mythical by nature (Hansen and Stepputat 7 Halford Mackinder's (1904) work on heartland theory, for example, was used by strategists during World War I. 8 Peter Taylor argues that "embedded statism" is an ontological reality well beyond the subdiscipline, present but rarely questioned throughout the social sciences (2000a, 2000b). 31 2001: 20-21), a "timeless national essence" (Steinmetz 1999: 12). Kirby argued that academics did not understand the state because they failed to "know" it through personal experience (1997a: 5). Abrams noted with frustration that theorists had come to take the state for granted and had lost sight of a more nuanced dialogue: "We are variously urged to respect the state, or smash the state or study the state: but for want of clarity about the nature of the state such projects remain beset with difficulties" (1988: 59). Abrams suggested that "the state, conceived of as a substantial entity separate from society has proved a remarkably elusive object of analysis" (1988: 61). Likewise, Mitchell argued that we view the state with "aridity and mystification rather than understanding and warranted knowledge" (1991: 61). Failures to locate the state reify its myth-like quality. Mitchell labeled this "the structural effect" of the artificial division between state and civil society (1991: 94). According to Nevins, practices that reify the artificial boundary between state and civil society are de-politicizing because they assume that the state acts as an autonomous decision-maker in relation to border-policing (2002: 160). When people believe that the state is all-powerful and mysterious, existing somewhere "out there," they do not participate in protest or dialogue. The "state" may not be knowable as a coherent whole because it does not exist as such. Like other institutions, state practices are highly variegated, complex, and entwined in many relationships that are difficult to pry apart. Indeed, scholarly attention to the state seems to move cyclically, the dialogue among theorists from various disciplines ebbing and flowing as they alternately call for the demise, and then the re-generation of the concept.9 These calls have included critiques of the state as monolith by a variety of scholars. A recurring theme over time within these critiques has been a struggle with Marxist and neo-Marxist treatments of the autonomous state (e.g., Pahl 1977, Driver 1991).10 From the 1960s to the early 1980s, this critique was developed by 9 Mitchell (1991) identified the loss of "the state" as an analytical concept in the 1950s. In 1985, Evans et al. published an edited collection, Bringing the State Back In. Last year, in Paradigm Lost (2002), Aronowitz and Bratsis once again lamented the loss of state theory and advocated its return. Feminists, too, have made important interventions (e.g. Pateman 1989, Watson 1990, Peterson 1992, Pettman 1996) with questions such as, "Do feminists need a theory of the state?" (Lilburn 2000). Hansen and Stepputat (2001) contributed a helpful review and a series of "ethnographic explorations," and Steinmetz, too, addressed research on the state after "the cultural turn" (1999). 1 0 Painter argued that the same critique leveled at Marxist theories of the state can be leveled at most (1995: 31), many of which focus too heavily upon one organizing theme, thus inevitably overlooking other powerful factors at play. Bob Jessop, in his "strategic-theoretical" approach, distinguished between "strong" and "weak" theories of the state (1990) and argued that only "weak" theories that understood the state as an array of institutions were 32 managerialists who, influenced by and overlapping with humanist and behavioralist geographers, tended to analyze the role of different levels of governments and other institutions and their effects on cities and populations (Pahl 1977, Flowerdew 1982, Ley 1983, Kariya 1993). These scholars studied how state managers shape social realities through the internal cultures of organizations. Ray Pahl, for example, located Weberian theories on urban managers in relation to Marxist theories of inequality, urban residents, and "territorial injustice" (1977). In a fuller exploration of organizational theory, David Ley addressed the internal subcultures of urban institutions and the rise of organizational consciousness that accompanied explosive growth in institutions in the 1960s and 1970s. Ley challenged a Weberian approach that conceptualized institutions as efficient and rational bodies with "perfect access to information" (1983: 220) and noted a lack of everyday empirical analysis. "A repetitive complaint in the literature is the limited number of detailed examinations of the ongoing life-world of the organization. Such an inductive approach would give much more attention to the everyday contexts out of which organizational actions emerge, to the actual meanings of events to organizational members which lie behind their initiatives and responses" (Ley 1983: 225).11 In a similar vein, Paul Kariya (1993) studied the subculture and policies of the Canadian federal Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development (DIAND). Like Ley, Kariya was particularly interested in the webs of meaning constructed through the relationships between DIAND and Canadian First Nations peoples (1993: 187-8). He too critiqued the "pure" or "total" organization as theorized through a Weberian approach and noted how distinctly institutions operated on the ground (1993: 189). This theme of a dearth of daily empirical analysis of institutions recurs among social scientists who critique the notion of the state as a monolith. Many among them were influenced by Berger and Luckmann's (1967) widely cited work on social constructionism. Through constructionist perspectives, they conceptualized governmental and non-governmental useful conceptually because they embraced a variety of actors and factors working through the state; whereas "strong" state theory was too universal and exclusionary to be useful (Jessop 1990, cited by Painter 1995: 64). Painter's understanding of the state falls on the side of "weak" theory: "states should be seen as both complex networks of relations among a (shifting) mixture of institutions and social groups, and the product of their own processes of institutional development and historical change as well as important external influences" (1995: 31). 1 1 Robin Flowerdew edited a collection of essays on the "institutionalist approach" (1982). These authors, however, were less interested in the subcultures of institutions and the ways in which they shaped the identities of urban residents, and more interested in the geographical patterns of institutions (Philo and Parr 2000: 515). 33 institutions formulated through social contexts. Constructionism also shaped Kay Anderson's (1987, 1991) approach to the local state in her extensive work on the ways in which the city government of Vancouver constructed the racialized place of Chinatown in Vancouver. Anderson looked not only at the state as a social construction, but at the ways in which the state constructed its "others" in her research on Chinese immigrants to Canada from the 1800s to the late twentieth century. Anderson dissected the construction of "race" and the relationship between the social construction of race and of places, in this case, Vancouver's Chinatown. Constructionism nourished the development of poststructural approaches to the state that grew more concerned with discourse and representation.12 Felix Driver (1991) critiqued neo-Marxist theories of the state in the 1980s. Joe Painter outlined poststructural views of the state most fully (1995) and proposed a helpful "working definition" of the state, which he, like Mitchell (1991) and Abrams (1988), identified as an ill-defined concept: States are constituted of spatialized social practices which are to a greater or lesser extent institutionalized (in a 'state apparatus') and which involve claims to authority which are general in social scope and which secure at least partial compliance through either consent, or coercion, or both (1995: 34, emphasis my own). Painter infused into the legal and territorial parameters of the state the notion that its very glue is social praxis. He located these practices in an institution or "state apparatus:" the bureaucracy (cf. Gramsci 1994) where the state not only influences, but is influenced by social contexts. Painter's work (1995) suggested that re-conceptualizing the discursive and material social geographies of the state would enable a re-framing of political agendas. Political geographers critiqued "mainstream" geopolitical approaches in the development of "critical geopolitics" (Dalby 1991, Agnew and Corbridge 1995, 6 Tuathail 1996). Influenced by postmodernism and poststructuralism, scholars of critical geopolitics are interested in arrangements of power (Agnew 1999) and view borders and states as social constructions, thus destabilizing the notion that these are fixed entities (6 Tuathail 1996). Critical geopolitics thus demanded a re-thinking of the dominant state-centered narratives of the world of international relations theory (Agnew 1999). This scholarship has centered largely on 1 2 Among the earliest poststructural view of the state was Gunnar Olsson's essay (1974) on deconstructing the state, a project that continued with the work of Peter Jackson (1987), Susan Smith (1989), and Kay Anderson (1991). 34 the act of deconstruction within the realm of textual discourse, and authors often note the need to move "beyond" the realm of discourse to political relations in practice (Thrift 2000, Flint 2002, Hyndman 2003). Feminist geographers have also been active participants in the production and critique of political geography and critical geopolitics, arguing that the subdiscipline of political geography failed to account for the experiences of women and to engage with feminist theory (e.g., Kofman and Peake 1990, Kodras 1999, Hyndman 2001, 2003).13 In so doing, feminist geographers have intersected with feminist international relations theorists who have also critiqued the monolithic state (Enloe 1989, Peterson 1992, Pettman 1996.) These scholars focused on the exclusions of mainstream international relations theory, asking for whom the state acts or "security for whom?" (Hyndman 2001, 2003). Jennifer Hyndman identifies the approaches of feminist international relations theorists as an intervention into the failure of critical geopolitics to move beyond deconstruction to practice: "Without a feminist sensibility, critical geopoliticians are left with well-interrogated categories, but no clear way forward in practice" (Hyndman 2003: 19). A recurring theme throughout these numerous critiques of the monolithic state is that scholars too rarely attend to the quotidian practices of states.14 Geographers should ask not only what, but where is the state in daily life? Social scientists often locate the state in relation to civil society or non-state actors. In so doing, they construct and reify an artificial divide by theorizing the state and civil society as separate entities, both conceptually and spatially (Mitchell 1991, Gupta 1995). Some scholars, however, have questioned the distinction. Mitchell asked, "What is it about modern society, as a particular form of social and economic order, that has made possible the apparent autonomy of the state as a free-standing entity?" (1991: 91). Gupta identified this division as a limited construction of western political thought or a "Western conceptual apparatus" (1995: 393) that failed to account for variations in the ways in which states operate at different levels in distinct locales. Rather than the abstract, hegemonic, repressive, autonomous body that affects social relations, I conceptualize the state 131 will discuss gender and the state further in chapter seven. 1 4 The next step is to look at whether and how those who have leveled these critiques have managed to link everyday practices to the larger, ongoing theoretical dialogues (see Hyndman 2003 for a helpful discussion). Peter Nyers (2002), for example, argues persuasively that the state be theorized as a set of practices, yet his methodology remains within the realm of textual analysis. 35 as itself an everyday social construction. This approach entails looking at the bureaucracy as a site where civil servants enact immigration policies across time and space, where the everyday relations among those theoretically conceived of as "outside" of the state bleed into the dimensions of bureaucratic life in fascinating ways (the subject of chapters five and six). Despite these critiques, the notion of the monolithic state still circulates through political geography. In reviewing the contents of Political Geography over the last several years, I found that political geographers rarely questioned the ontology of the state. Furthermore, the field of political geography suffers from a dearth of work on everyday approaches to an embodied nation-state (cf. Gupta 1995, Hyndman 2001); that is, a state articulated through, and in an important sense limited by, the imaginations of those who enact it. Behind each decision are individuals acting within varied institutional and geographical contexts. Most state theories, however, do not locate the nation-state geographically in a time or a place, but rather assume its pervasive and homogenous nature (Gupta 1995). There is a need here for geographical finessing of the state's agency. My own analytical entrance into the state as an everyday practice is embodiment: to analyze where immigration bureaucrats are operating and working, as well as with whom they interact. Epistemological embodiment shows that the state is constituted within and through social relations, as not only constitutive of but constituted internally, unevenly through difference. This is an effort to place migrants, refugee claimants, and institutional actors in relation to one another (cf. Nyers 2002). This strategy serves to deconstruct the monolithic state and to place practices more specifically. Qualitative research on the day-to-day work of enforcement offers a critical approach to counteract the depoliticizing effects of abstractions of "the state," to uncover taken-for-granted assumptions behind public narratives, and to thus dispel the myth of the autonomous state. In interviews, civil servants articulated the ways their views on, and roles in, the response to human smuggling worked both symbiotically and in tension with policy. Embodiment thus serves as a strategy to locate knowledge and power in a time and a place (see Haraway 1991, Gupta 1995, Rose 1995). As Heyman noted, "Bureaucratic work is internally conflictive but appears, in the single-stranded relationship to the exterior, to be definitive. . . and rational" (1995: 264). Indeed, the policies of the state are enacted amid tension and difference, but as I will demonstrate ethnographically, higher-level bureaucrats and communications employees 36 construct coherent narratives for the public, which tend to provide narrow insight into what actually took place. Quotidian geographies of the state hold the potential to challenge these narratives. The daily practices and beliefs that inform those who comprise the state can be captured with ethnographic research that demystifies the power of the state. Resistance, therefore, need not come exclusively from "the outside" (see Gupta 1995: 394). The recovery of alternative narratives of the state sometimes suppressed by the bureaucracy disrupt some of the more audible narratives about transnational migration that have become normalized as culturally acceptable narratives - e.g., the state as facilitator of capital flows for investment and economic growth - and expose inconsistencies in Canada's self-imaginings. Coherent national narratives often fall apart and enable the conjuring of new transnational imaginaries. Within the intricate and intimate connections among institutional subjects lies potential for social change. The disjuncture between policy and practice: "Policy loves a vacuum." Most of us knew that the policy says that. But you've got to get your job done.15 In researching the response to human smuggling, I learned that the narratives relayed by bureaucrats related only partially to anything written on paper, such as policy, organizational structure, and prescribed roles and responsibilities. Bureaucrats' reflections on the 1999 response related more closely to the gap between that which had been written on paper and that which came into being through practice. Policies and mandates represent the more superficial, outward expressions of the nation-state, perhaps the most visible narratives of state activity. And it is often within the realm of policy and mandate that social scientists conduct their work (Heyman and Smart 1999: 15). Written policies, however, narrate partial stories, idealized versions of what might be or what should happen. In the case of the 1999 arrivals, policy did not actually exist and was written retrospectively in the ensuing months and years to explain what had taken place.16 In 1999, the only policy designed to structure a marine response to smuggling had been written years earlier 1 5 Interview, Vancouver, August 2001. 1 6 "The experience with marine arrivals in 1999 identified concerns that our current detention policies and legislation do not provide support or guidance to deal with large scale organized human smuggling activity in Canada." Interview, Vancouver, August 2000. 37 in response to the arrival of 174 Sikhs on the Chilean ship, the MVAmelie, in 1987 off the coast of Nova Scotia. Following the arrival of the Amelie, the migrants made refugee claims and were held in a gymnasium at the Canadian Forces Base Stadacona (Singh 1994: 140-143). Parliament was actually called back into emergency session in order to develop a response.17 That response became policy, but was written as a sunset clause in The Immigration Act, set to expire six months later.18 By the time the boats arrived from Fujian, the policy provided lessons from the past, but no longer applied legal imperatives to the present. Nonetheless, local managers had prepared operational procedures, devised collaboratively at the regional level among federal partners during tabletop exercises in the spring of 1999. So in the absence of national policy, but with a rehearsed modus operandi in place, the integrity of the frontline response to the boat arrivals depended largely upon trust, personalities, subjectivity, politics, the execution of effective leadership, hard work, and collaboration among institutions during what quickly became a time of crisis without defined procedures for the federal government. Social interactions and messy processes within the state, where bureaucrats had to work through the implementation of policy, are central to its successful enactment. Those disjunctures between policy and practice highlighted in the opening vignettes of this chapter did not end once responders and migrants were, at long last, on dry land. On the water, without the hierarchies of the military, CIC employees had to adapt to working with members of the military operationally and culturally. Just as the response on the water required flexibility and the ability to deal with the unexpected, such as escapes from the beach and chases on the water, so did the ensuing months of processing and detention in BC. Following interception, the MRT boarded the boats and conducted a medical evaluation of travelers as well as an evaluation of the seaworthiness of the ship. Each ship was then towed either to the nearest local dock where migrants could be off-loaded or all the way to Esquimalt, on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, depending on the geography of interception and the assessment of the condition of the boat. Once the first boat had been intercepted, CIC had twelve hours to transform the Workpoint Barracks, a gymnasium at the Esquimalt base of the 171 discuss this arrival further in chapter four. 1 8 The sunset clause was put in place in response to a hunger strike carried out by one senator in protest of the placement of restrictions on refugee claims. This response conveyed and foreshadowed a broader unease on the federal government to commit to long-term policy in this area. 38 Department of National Defence outside of Victoria, into a makeshift site for processing and detention.19 At Esquimalt, CIC managers quickly devised operational procedures to bathe, clothe, and process the migrants, during which time immigration officers conducted interviews and medical personnel conducted examinations. Many issues came up immediately during each step of the process, as immigration officers, intelligence analysts, and investigative officers worked to learn the identities, objectives, and group dynamics among the migrants. Some migrants misrepresented their identities and ages early on, probably under the guidance of the enforcers.20 It was challenging for officials to confirm identities because few migrants carried identification documents. It also took time for authorities to identify the enforcers within the group.21 CIC faced language barriers and rushed to find translators who spoke the two dialects spoken by the migrants or Mandarin.22 Another challenge was feeding people who were malnourished and dehydrated, having been at sea with insufficient food and water supplies for up to an estimated 58 to 60 days, in the case of the second boat. Other important logistical issues included the determination of the time when migrants would be told that they had a right to make a refugee claim in Canada, and the time when claimants were granted access to legal counsel. While there were some protocols guiding the response, local CIC officials also faced unchartered territory on several fronts and had to find resources upon which they had never drawn prior, ranging from large quantities of bland Chinese food in Victoria that would not upset the migrants' sensitive stomachs to x-ray machines, security fences and trailers to house temporary offices. In the absence of written policy to address this unique scenario in which employees of CIC RHQ found themselves, much to their chagrin, the law played even more of a central role in each operational decision than it would have had policy already been written (and therefore 1 9 Eventually, the Workpoint Barracks was designated a "Port-of-Entry," a decision contested by the BC Branch of the Canadian Bar Association (Bartalk 1999). As long as migrants were being "processed" rather than "detained," they were not granted access to legal counsel. But more on this later (in chapter six). 2 0 The term "snakehead" refers to the human smugglers leading the operations. Investigators refer to those traveling on the boats - and located much further down in the business - as enforcers. They are often people with criminal records and histories of gang involvement who sometimes take jobs as enforcers in exchange for the fare of the trip. 2 1 It is widely believed that they never identified all of the enforcers among the group. 2 2 Two dialects of Fukienese are spoken in the Fujianese counties that were home to these migrants. Many of the migrants had received primary school education which had been in Mandarin. Furthermore, Fukienese intersects with Mandarin, so communication in the national language of the PRC was possible, if not fluent. 39 already approved by legal counsel). The procedures and the physical layout of Workpoint Gymnasium at Esquimalt where processing took place evolved and became more efficient and legally correct over time, as CIC reduced the number of days that migrants would spend at the military base from fourteen. In the meantime, high-ranking officials such as Assistant Deputy Ministers and lawyers at National Headquarters guided RHQ through the response with daily conference calls that often lasted a couple of hours. Often over twenty people would be involved in these calls, with employees from various branches represented, including intelligence, enforcement, communications, and legal services. Frontline responders and the middle managers mediating communications between BC and Ottawa often expressed frustration with the slow pace at which Ottawa interpreted policy and issued commands. They also often expressed antagonistic feelings towards lawyers and policymakers alike whom they believed did not understand the realities and challenges of the frontline regional response, and especially the quick timing within which they needed to act. As all parties worked to develop a tactical response, the interpretation of, and debates surrounding, legal issues were often front-and-center in disputes between RHQ and NHQ. Nonetheless, it seemed at the time that this would be a temporary void in policy that would surely be filled over time. One bureaucrat told me that "Policy loves a vacuum." Following the boat arrivals, in the interest of writing policy that would guide responses to future arrivals, policymakers in Ottawa did indeed draft a National Marine Policy Framework retrospectively in light of what took place. Employees from various federal departments involved on the water and at the base in British Columbia eagerly awaited the drafting, circulation, and signing of this document because they needed the certainty and support of nation-wide policy in order to prepare for future arrivals. Policy makes sense of procedures honed over time, more coherent in its final iteration. To date, as was the case following the arrival of the Amelie twelve years prior, this policy has also related more to the past than the future. Policies and manuals written after the boat arrivals paid careful attention to language that would support legal decisions made in 1999 that had been subsequently challenged in court. To understand the state as a daily practice is, therefore, to discern between external and internal articulations of the activities of governance, to transcend the particular scales and spatial relationships written into state theory, such as center/periphery, geopolitical/local, 40 abstract/empirically grounded. These disjunctures suggest the imperative of conceptualizing the state as an everyday practice in order to understand the management of transnational migration from within the bureaucracy. The nation-state as everyday practice This thesis aims primarily to understand the nation-state as an everyday practice. This is where I differ most and want most to be in conversation with political geographers. It is precisely the daily, grounded nature of the life of the state that is the blind spot of many theories of the state and that best explains the management of transnational movem