‘Future citizens of the world’? The contested futures of independent young migrants in Europe
Elaine Chase, Jennifer Allsopp
Irrespective of their points of entry, for most young people subject to immigration control in Europe, turning 18 marks a significant repositioning of their relationship with the state and a diminution of rights and entitlements; they change from rights holders as ‘children’, for whom states must consider the ‘best interests’, to young people subjected to a varied array of classifications who are hard to position in the ‘national order of things’ (Malkki 1995). Young people frequently end up in limbo, uncertain of whether or not they will be able to remain in the country of immigration/asylum and for how long. This paper at once outlines and critically analyses the dissonance between how European policies formulate and impose a set of future options for independent migrant young people who are subject to immigration control as they transition to ‘adulthood’, and what is known about young people’s own conceptualisations of their futures and how they intend to realise them.