One story that can be told about the development of legal protections for certain forced migrants in international law is, in terms of the scope of protection, a progressive one. From expanded definitions of who is entitled to refugee-law protection, to the development of complementary protection in human rights law, the ambit of that which the law purports to cover has moved wider. This might be seen as part of the broader trend in the expanding coverage of international human rights law generally. Yet, a counternarrative can also be told: a diminished commitment on the part of many states, particularly economically advantaged ones, to inward migration, including of forced migrants, as evidenced in the expanded scope of non-entrée, “closed borders” measures, from visa restrictions to carrier sanctions, push-back operations, and an unwillingness to engage in numerically significant refugee resettlements to their countries. This backlash trend can also be identified in human rights policy generally. Just as the scope of human rights legal protection in general, and the legal protection accorded to certain migrants in particular, has expanded, so too states have become less willing to provide such protection.
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