‘Recalcitrant’ and ‘Uncooperative’: Why Some Countries Refuse to Accept Return of their Deportees

Erlend Paasche
Date of Publication: 
December, 2022
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

According to this report, only 18 percent of noncitizens who received “removal” orders in 2020 were deported from the U.S. This coincides with the 1.2 million noncitizens who were still in the country as of January 2021 despite having orders to leave. For this reason, the U.S. immigration system faces instability and dysfunction, caused by “recalcitrant” origin countries with political, economic and cultural reasons for not accepting returning migrants, Both the U.S. and the E.U. face a similar dilemma when origin states do not cooperate on the readmission of their citizens. The authors highlight a few of the cause of this reluctance, including the high costs of readmission, lack of incentives to readmit citizens, missing documents to prove identity and citizenship, the belief that returnees may pose a security risk, and the manipulation of this issue as part of geopolitical power-plays. The authors discuss some of the “carrot and stick” approaches taken by the EU to secure the cooperation of sending countries, but also stress the importance of understanding that “return is often politically fraught in poorly understood ways, and the normative duty to readmit collides with other legal, political, and cultural norms...” (The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

Download now or view online.


Paasche, E. (2022, December). ‘Recalcitrant’ and ‘Uncooperative’: Why Some Countries Refuse to Accept Return of their Deportees. Migration Policy Institute. https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/recalcitrant-uncooperative-count...