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a police officer checking an women and her 3 children
The New York Public Library on Unsplash
Immigrants at Ellis Island undergoing a medical inspection 1902-1913.

Migrant: Your body is your border

On Ellis Island the Statue of Liberty turns her back to the immigrants arriving from Europe. The medical inspection was considered a necessary hurdle to reach America in this bureaucratic maze created by a young country in the beginning of the 20th Century. ⁣ ⁣ Starting in the 1990s, it is biometric border control that has attained key importance throughout Europe.

In December 2019, the book "The Biometric Borderworld: technologies, bodies and identities on the move", written by anthropologists: Karen Fog Olwig, Kristina Grünenberg, Perle Møhl and Anja Simonsen describes how these technologies use bodies to identify, categorize and regulate cross-border movements.⁣ ⁣ Anders Kjærulff from Science Stories interviews (in Danish) three of the book's authors from the University of Copenhagen about immigrants having to confirm their identity technologically. A situation that many migrants face. These technologies are characterised by notable uncertainty and are subject to substantial subjective interpretation.⁣ ⁣⁣⁣

Anders Kjærulff from Science Stories has spoken (in Danish) to three of the authors about having to confirm their identity when you have passports that are not recognized or simply have no papers, a situation that many migrants face, and a problem that we in Europe try to solve by technical way.

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Science Stories is supported by the Novo Nordisk Foundation.