Beyond the Walls of Paper. Undocumented Migrants, the Border and Human Rights

In: European Journal of Migration and Law
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  • 1 Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

Abstract

In the European Union alone, there are currently approximately 5.5 million migrants with an irregular immigration status. Despite its promise of universality, international human rights law does not protect migrants, particularly those in irregular situations, to the same extent as it protects citizens. This paper examines state policies towards irregular migration and approaches to issues faced by irregular migrants, from No Borders to solidarity, arguing that to effectively address these pressing concerns, it is necessary to look beyond the law and the concept of human rights and to challenge the notion of the border. Hannah Arendt’s nexus between rights and political membership expressed in the concept of the ‘right to have rights’ is considered in relation to today’s undocumented migrants. Different manifestations of migrant activism are also analysed, demonstrating that undocumented migrants have a voice and have been using it to contest the state-dependent notions of citizenship and membership.

  • 2)

    J. Greenway (2007), Regularisation programmes for irregular migrants (Report), Council of Europe Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population 11350, p. 1.

  • 8)

    MRCI Report (n. 5), p. 52.

  • 9)

    PICUM (2010), PICUM’s Main Concerns about the Fundamental Rights of Undocumented Migrants in Europe 2010 (Report), p. 36.

  • 10)

    S. Grant (2011), ‘Irregular Migration and Frontier Deaths. Acknowledging a Right to Identity’, in: M. Dembour and T. Kelly (eds), Are Human Rights for Migrants? Critical Reflections on the Status of Irregular Migrants in Europe and the United States, Oxford: Routledge, pp. 48–71.

  • 11)

    A. Cassese (2001), International Law. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 97.

  • 15)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 868.

  • 18)

    MRCI Report (n. 5), p. 52.

  • 20)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 874.

  • 24)

    Kraler (n. 13), p. 306.

  • 25)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 868.

  • 30)

    REGINE Report (n. 4), p. 7.

  • 34)

    REGINE Report (n. 4), p. 7.

  • 36)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 868.

  • 38)

    REGINE Report (n. 4), p. 29.

  • 40)

    Kraler (n. 13), p. 298.

  • 42)

    REGINE Report (n. 4), p. 31.

  • 43)

    PICUM (2002), Standpoint on Regularisation, available online at http://picum.org/picum.org/uploads/file_/PICUM%20Standpoint%20on%20Regularisation.pdf (accessed 20 July 2012); MRCI Press release (2012), ‘Petition Shows Public Support for the Regularisation of Undocumented in Ireland’, available online at http://www.mrci.ie/Petition-Shows-Public-Support-for-the-Regularisation-of-Undocumented-in-Ireland-detail-news/ (accessed 24 July 2012); Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 104.

  • 44)

    MRCI (2010), Regularisation of undocumented migrants (Policy Paper), available online at http://www.mrci.ie/media/131428391174_MRCI%20PP%20Regularisation%20of%20Undocumented%20Migrants.pdf (accessed 24 July 2012), p. 2.

  • 46)

    REGINE Report (n. 4), p. 82.

  • 50)

    REGINE Report (n. 4), p. 83.

  • 51)

    De Genova (n. 37), p. 420.

  • 52)

    Kraler (n. 13), p. 298.

  • 54)

    Triandafyllidou and Ambrosini (n. 28), p. 252.

  • 56)

    MRCI (2011), Justice for the Undocumented (Leaflet), available online at http://www.mrci.ie/media/132215822225_Justice%20for%20the%20Undocumented%20Nov%202011.pdf (accessed 24 July 2012), p. 1.

  • 58)

    Kraler (n. 13), p. 299.

  • 61)

    De Genova (n. 37), p. 429.

  • 65)

    Amnesty International Press release (2012) ‘EU can’t outsource migration control to Libya’, available online at http://www.whenyoudontexist.eu/eu-can-t-outsource-migration-control-to-libya-news/ (accessed 24 July 2012).

  • 66)

    Triandafyllidou and Ambrosini (n. 28), p. 258.

  • 67)

    González-Enríquez (n. 19), p. 154.

  • 68)

    Triandafyllidou and Ambrosini (n. 28), p. 259.

  • 69)

    De Genova (n. 37), p. 436.

  • 71)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 871.

  • 74)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 875.

  • 79)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 870.

  • 82)

    Anderson, Sharma and Wright (n. 59), p. 5.

  • 84)

    Triandafyllidou and Ambrosini (n. 28), p. 271.

  • 86)

    De Genova (n. 70), p. 1190.

  • 87)

    Anderson, Sharma and Wright (n. 59), p. 8.

  • 89)

    UN DESA Report (n. 1), p. 1.

  • 91)

    M. Dembour and T. Kelly (2011), ‘Introduction’, in: M. Dembour and T. Kelly (Eds), Are Human Rights for Migrants? Critical Reflections on the Status of Irregular Migrants in Europe and the United States (n. 10), at p. 5.

  • 92)

    Cassese (n. 11), p. 89.

  • 93)

    Bosniak (n. 45), p. 754.

  • 94)

    Ibid., p. 755.

  • 95)

    J. Torpey (2000), The Invention of the Passport. Surveillance, Citizenship and the State, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 3.

  • 97)

    Cassese (n. 11), p. 97.

  • 100)

    Bosniak (n. 45), p. 755.

  • 102)

    Noll (n. 12), p. 271.

  • 103)

    See, for instance, P. McMichael (2007), Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective, Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

  • 104)

    M. Dembour and M. Martin (2011), ‘The French Calaisis. Transit Zone or Dead-End?’, in: M. Denbour and T. Kelly (eds), Are Human Rights for Migrants? Critical Reflections on the Status of Irregular Migrants in Europe and the United States (n. 10), 123–146, at p. 129. See also, J. Fitzpatrick, ‘Revitalizing the 1951 Refugee Convention’, 9 Harvard Human Rights Journal (1996), 229–254, at 229.

  • 105)

    Noll (n. 12), p. 268.

  • 107)

    See, for instance, Bosniak (n. 45), p. 743; G. Goodwin-Gill, ‘International Law and Human Rights: Trends Concerning International Migrants and Refugees’, 23 International Migration Review (1989), 526–546, at p. 533.

  • 108)

    S. Benhabib (2004), The Rights of Others: Aliens, Residents, and Citizens, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p. 54.

  • 109)

    Torpey (n. 95), p. 121.

  • 116)

    T. Hayter (2004), Open Borders. The Case Against Immigration Control, London: Pluto Press, p. 21.

  • 119)

    I. Kant (1796), Project for a perpetual peace. A philosophical essay. Translated from the German (translator’s name not given), London: Vernor and Hood, p. 28.

  • 120)

    Bagaric and Morss (n. 117), p. 36.

  • 122)

    Anderson, Sharma and Wright (n. 59), p. 10.

  • 124)

    See, for instance, MRCI Report (n. 5), p. 53.

  • 126)

    Anderson, Sharma and Wright (n. 59), p. 10.

  • 127)

    Benhabib (n. 108), p. 27.

  • 128)

    Kant (n. 119), p. 28.

  • 132)

    Anderson, Sharma and Wright (n. 59), p. 11.

  • 133)

    Dembour and Kelly (n. 91), p. 5.

  • 134)

    Cassese (n. 11), p. 97.

  • 135)

    Goodwin-Gill (n. 107), p. 526.

  • 138)

    Bhabha (n. 136), p. 412.

  • 139)

    H. Arendt (1951), The Origins of Totalitarianism (8th edn, 1985) Orlando, FL: Harcourt, p. 268.

  • 142)

    Arendt (n. 139), p. 296.

  • 145)

    Arendt (n. 139), p. 297.

  • 147)

    Benhabib (n. 108), p. 56; F. Michelman, ‘Parsing “A Right to Have Rights” ’, 3 Constellations (1996), 200–208, at p. 201.

  • 148)

    Benhabib (n. 108), p. 57.

  • 149)

    Michelman (n. 147), p. 203.

  • 153)

    See, for instance, D. Weissbrodt (2003), Prevention of Discrimination. The rights of non-citizens. Final report of the Special Rapporteur, UN Doc E/CN.4/Sub.2/2003/23, 2.

  • 154)

    Michelman (n. 147), p. 205.

  • 157)

    MRCI Press release (2012), Justice for the Undocumented Supporters Deliver Petition, available online at http://www.mrci.ie/Justice-for-the-Undocumented-Supporters-Deliver-Petition--detail-news/ (accessed 1 August 2012).

  • 159)

    Benhabib (n. 108), p. 215.

  • 160)

    Michelman (n. 147), p. 200.

  • 161)

    Benhabib (n. 108), p. 58.

  • 164)

    Arendt (n. 139), p. 301.

  • 165)

    Michelman (n. 147), p. 202.

  • 168)

    Arendt (n. 139), p. 300.

  • 170)

    See Michelman (n. 147), p. 207.

  • 173)

    Dembour and Kelly (n. 91), p. 2.

  • 186)

    F. De Varennes (2002), Strangers in Foreign Lands. Diversity, Vulnerability and the Rights of Migrants, UNESCO 9 MOST Working Paper, p. 9.

  • 188)

    Anderson, Sharma and Wright (n. 59), p. 8.

  • 189)

    De Varennes (n. 186), p. 8.

  • 191)

    Bosniak (n. 45), p. 748.

  • 192)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 102.

  • 193)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 867.

  • 194)

    Van Walsum (n. 72), p. 155.

  • 195)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 101.

  • 199)

    Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1346.

  • 201)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 125.

  • 202)

    Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1341.

  • 203)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 111, Hayter (n. 101), p. 142.

  • 204)

    Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1342.

  • 205)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 104, Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1346.

  • 206)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 102.

  • 207)

    Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1346.

  • 208)

    See Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 117 on this form of collective irregular migrant action observed in Spain in 2001.

  • 211)

    Anderson (n. 196), p. 61.

  • 213)

    Anderson (n. 196), p. 67.

  • 214)

    See Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 102 on the regularisation programmes introduced in the wake of the protests in 1997 in France and 2001 in Spain.

  • 216)

    See, for instance, Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1349.

  • 219)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 112.

  • 221)

    Anderson (n. 196), p. 66.

  • 224)

    Hayter (n. 116), p. 142.

  • 225)

    Reprinted, Ibid., p. 146.

  • 230)

    Michelman (n. 147), p. 206.

  • 232)

    Anderson (n. 196), p. 63.

  • 233)

    Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1349.

  • 234)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 105.

  • 235)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 868.

  • 237)

    Anderson (n. 196), p. 65.

  • 239)

    Laubenthal (n. 22), p. 110.

  • 242)

    Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1350; Van Walsum (n. 72), p. 155.

  • 243)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 868.

  • 244)

    Chimienti (n. 73), p. 1348.

  • 248)

    Engbersen and Broeders (n. 6), p. 874.

  • 250)

    Michelman (n. 147), p. 206.

  • 251)

    Benhabib (n. 108), p. 67.

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