A normative assessment of the aims and practices of the European border management agency Frontex
In the last decade, immigration control policy has gained increasing importance within the European Union. With the establishment of the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders (Frontex) in 2005, the Union has made a significant move towards the harmonization of border control – potentially, as critics fear, at the expense of migrant rights. While a wealth of criticism regarding Frontex’ policies and practices have been mounted by NGOs, politicians, and scholars, a systematic assessment of their work has not yet been attempted. This paper engages in an immanent critique of the agency, assessing it according to its own values and standards. Given that Frontex, as a European Union agency, does unambiguously ascribe to fundamental values, including human rights, non-refoulement, international law and democracy, it is assessed whether Frontex’ actions stay committed to these values in practice.