This article proposes the term Departheid to capture the systemic oppression and spatial management of illegalized migrants in Western liberal states. As a concept,
Departheid aims to move beyond the instrumentality of illegalizing migration in order
to comprehend the tenacity with which oppressive measures are implemented even in
the face of accumulating evidence for their futility in managing migration flows and
the harm they cause to millions of people. The article highlights continuities between
present oppressive migration regimes and past colonial configurations for controlling
the mobility of what Hannah Arendt has called “subject races.” By drawing on similarities with Apartheid as a governing ideology based on racialization, segregation, and deportation, I argue that Departheid, too, is animated by a sense of moral superiority that is rooted in a fantasy of White supremacy.