Cite as: Franck, A. K. 2017, "Im/Mobility and Deportability in Transit: Lesvos Island, Greece, June 2015". In Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie.
Over the course of the so-called ‘European refugee crisis’ hundreds and thousands of refugees have arrived to the Greek island of Lesvos. In order to obtain permission to leave the island, and thus continue their journeys towards northern Europe, arriving refugees first have to go through a registration process. During 2015, this registration resulted in refugees being given an ‘administrative deportation order,’ which de jure expelled the refugees from Greek territory but de facto allowed them to leave the island and continue their travels. This ‘administrative deportation order’ was therefore pursued by the arriving refugees as a ‘travel’ rather than ‘expulsion’ document. Following the experiences of a group of Syrian refugees in their endeavors to get registered and leave the island of Lesvos in June 2015, this paper illustrates how refugees actively navigate the systems that govern their (im)mobility – and how their alternative reading and usage of the administrative deportation order also has broader political consequences.