Rights in the Absence of Recognized Status- Challenging or Reinforcing the Rightlessness of Irregular Migrants?

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 8:45 AM
Room: 301
Oral Presentation
Amanda NIELSEN , Department of Political Science, Linnaeus University, Vxj, Sweden
This paper starts from the assumption that efforts to counter the rightlessness of irregular migrants can be divided into two broad categories. A first strategy seeks to ensure rights through a shift of status– i.e. through regularization while a second strategy aims at securing access to a number of basic rights (often conceptualized as human rights) for all residents regardless of their legal status. Demands for provision of medical care and schooling, as well as ability to access public space without fears, all fall within this latter category. Scholars have conceptualized these claims as an instance where the internal border controls of states are being challenged. This reading stresses the transformative potential of this kind of demands with regard to current citizenship regimes. However, it is also possible to read this strategy as insufficient in the sense that it leaves irregular migrants in a permanent state of exclusion. Hence, the implication of the second strategy remains disputed. Should it be understood as a component in a strategy to undermine border control? Or, rather, to entail the reinforcement of rightlessness and the consolidation of a divided society? Providing irregular migrants with a number of basic rights while withholding access to full membership  can be seen as integral to the creation of a precarious labour force. Drawing on insights from the Swedish debate about irregular migrants this paper seeks to address these questions. The analysis is guided by the assumption that political demands needs to be analysed contextually as their intervention and implication differ historically and spatially. In accordance with this the paper seeks to provide an account of the specificities of claims-making on and on behalf of irregular migrants in different context with a focus on how this relates to different regimes of citizenship and border control.