The COVID-19 pandemic set the backdrop to the EU’s new framework for addressing irregular migration. Yet, this emergency mindset should not dictate that future responses to human smuggling remain focussed on border control, as they have done during the pandemic. We are at a pivotal moment in EU policy-making, following the release of the New Pact on Migration and Asylum and preceding the publication of additional plans for legal migration and improved responses to human smuggling. This is therefore a key time to take stock of how state responses to the pandemic have impacted human smuggling dynamics, in order to build sustainable and humane response frameworks going forward.
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