‘Why are you scared?’…‘because you’re a Deportee’: Moral Panic and Crimmigration towards Returnees in the Pacific Islands

Ms Henrietta O’Neill1

1Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

‘Moral panic’ (Cohen, 1972) has been established in political and media discourse around migration, in particular convicted non-citizens. Through the concept of ‘crimmigration’ (Stumpf, 2006), we have seen the application of this moral panic through laws and policing approaches towards criminal non-citizens who are deported. Only recently have we begun to see crimmigration approaches applied to returned convicted citizens (deported and returned from elsewhere), particularly in New Zealand. This paper explores rhetoric in Pacific Islands that experience high numbers of returnees proportionate to population, and questions if a similar ‘moral panic’ is experienced on return and applied in a similar crimmigration approach.


Henrietta McNeill is a PhD Candidate at the Coral Bell School for Asia Pacific Affairs at the Australian National University. She is a 2021-22 Fulbright Scholar, with interests in Pacific geopolitics, transnational crime, and criminal deportations to the Pacific.


Dec 08 2021