Exclusionary, evasive and xenophobic immigration policies echo a common public discourse about the 'dark side' of migration - its association with danger and terror. Portraying irregular migrants as potential terrorists creates a powerful narrative that taps into a polity’s primordial fears and fosters social, political, and cultural exclusion of foreign-born Others - leading to an atmosphere of fear and insecurity among immigrant communities. This study aims at understanding these ‘discourses of danger’ and the ways in which irregular migrants respond. First, we look at how the association of migration and ‘terror’ is articulated - what genres are used, by whom and for what purposes. We then explore how irregular migrants and their advocacy groups cope with the increasingly pervasive portrayal of migrants as dangerous, unwelcome Others. How do they frame and construct claims for social and political acceptance? What are the survival strategies in response to the growing incidence of physical and symbolic violence against immigrants? Through a qualitative analysis, we elaborate patterns that ‘connect the dots’ - between migration and terror, state and society, and inclusion and exclusion within the nation state.
Keywords: Migration and terror, state and society, inclusion and exclusion; dark side' of migration.