Accepted paper:

The Border Regime at the Kitchen Table - How Foster Families for Unaccompanied Minors Respond to The threat of Deportation

Authors:

Silke Betscher (Bremen University )

Paper short abstract:

Foster families for unaccompanied minor refugees are situated in an area of conflict between state welfare and European border regime. With the threat of deportation, the entire family system is in danger, so foster parents develop their own strategies and practices in dealing with this situation.

Paper long abstract:

In 2015 & 16 about 60,000 unaccompanied minor refugees (UAM) arrived in Germany. The German youth welfare system was in no way prepared for this. A way out of the overcrowding of the youth welfare facilities seemed to be the targeted promotion of foster care for the young refugees. In 2015 many youth welfare offices registered a rush of interest and there were numerous placements. These foster families, most of which are termed "guest families", represent overlapping transnational family settings with the relations of the adolescents with their families of origin and the transnational and transcultural networks created by the host family. On the basis of interviews with "guest families", it will be demonstrated, how the families found themselves (mostly unexpected) in specific tensions between state welfare and European border regime. These tensions not only relate to the policies of care and deterrence, which are mostly complementary in their orientation, but are also recognizable in very different economies, practices, and goals of care between state actors and those of civil society.
In this talk I will examine the effects of deportation threat on "guest family networks". Here, with the adolescent threatened with deportation the entire family system is at risk. Thus, the border regime suddenly unintentionally has massive effects on German citizens, most of whom experience its violent nature and practices for the very first time. I will show what emotional effects the threat of deportation has on the families and what practices they develop to respond.

panel P153
Settling in hostile environments: the effects of deportability on migrants and their families