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©2016 The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
Palgrave Macmillan UK
This chapter attempts to situate boat people into migration theory. It does so by first providing a short history of the use of the term and then moves on to identify boat people’s main characteristics. The majority appear to be young, male and single. Many apply for asylum. Some receive protection, some disappear into irregularity and some are deported home. Since this book focuses on political debates, some key traits of the norm entrepreneurs who attempt to influence both sides of policy debates on boat people are considered. Thereafter, some of the internal and external constraints that states sometimes face when debating and implementing migration policy are identified. Most prominence is given to discussing the ‘gap hypothesis’, the ‘liberal paradox’, ‘path dependence’ and the underrated role that ‘immaterial values’ have in policy debates and decisions.
Asylum Policy, Boat People and Political Discourse