Crime, Pre-Crime and Sub-Crime: Deportation of “Risky Non-Citizens” as “Enemy Crimmigration”

Leanne Weber, Rebecca Powell

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review


While there may be increasing demands from some sectors within neoliberal democracies for governments to reaffirm their responsibility for the well-being of populations, the situation of non-citizens in many countries is becoming ever more precarious. Insecure immigration status opens up for governments unique avenues for exclusionary risk reduction measures that are not available in relation to citizens, namely literal exclusion through deportation. In this chapter, we discuss two groups of non-citizens in Australia who have been ongoing targets for deportation on character grounds, combining the ‘enemy penology’ approach advocated by German legal theorist Günther Jakobs and the ‘crimmigration thesis’ expounded by American legal academic Juliet Stumpf. We analyze the ‘enemy crimmigration’ policies that construct them as ‘social enemies’ and facilitate their expulsion, sometimes in the absence of either immigration breaches or criminal convictions. We argue that the ramping up of risk-based measures against these groups has implications beyond the potential violation of their individual human rights. The rise of executive power, adoption of pre-crime and sub-crime models at the nexus of immigration and crime control, and lack of regard for rehabilitation objectives and due process protections all signal the broadening of the securitization agenda beyond counterterrorism, and progression along a distinctly undemocratic path. We conclude that the sustained focus on the pre-emption of risk, combined with the rise of nationalist sentiments, create conditions conducive to the development of a ‘preventive state’ that, while as-yet not fully realized, represents a much greater threat to Australian democracy than the presence of these groups.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCriminal Justice, Risk and the Revolt against Uncertainty
EditorsJohn Pratt, Jordan Anderson
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9783030379483
ISBN (Print)9783030379476
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes


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