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Nonrecording states between legibility and looking away

Barak Kalir and Willem van Schendel

recording, nonrecording, and derecording in order to manage economic benefits, racial discrimination, and ideological anxieties. But these shifts cannot resolve the tensions: state agents’ refusal to legalize undocumented migrants not only devalues their

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The temporality of illegality

Experiences of undocumented Latin American migrants in London

Ana Gutiérrez Garza

status ( Khosravi 2007 ; Sigona 2012 ). Willen’s phenomenological approach to the study of undocumented migrants in Israel demonstrates how illegality not only affects the external structures of migrants’ worlds but also shapes their subjective

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Steve Kwok-Leung Chan

migration towards Thailand, with emphasis on undocumented labor and trafficking in persons. As undocumented migrant workers outnumber their legal counterparts in the destination nation, it is a significant social phenomenon worthy of examination. One

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“My Visa Application Was Denied, I Decided to Go Anyway”

Interpreting, Experiencing, and Contesting Visa Policies and the (Im)mobility Regime in Algeria

Farida Souiah

This article explores the ways people targeted by restrictive migration and mobility policies in Algeria experience, interpret, and contest them. It focuses on the perspective of harragas, literally “those who burn” the borders. In the Maghrebi dialects, this is notably how people leaving without documentation are referred to. It reflects the fact that they do not respect the mandatory steps for legal departure. Also, they figuratively “burn” their papers to avoid deportation once in Europe. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork, this article outlines the complex and ambiguous attitudes toward the legal mobility regime of those it aims to exclude: compliance, deception, delegitimization, and defiance. It contributes to debates about human experiences of borders and inequality in mobility regimes. It helps deepen knowledge on why restrictive migration and mobility policies fail and are often counterproductive, encouraging the undocumented migration they were meant to deter.

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Non- and dedocumenting citizens in Romania

Nonrecording as a civil boundary

Ioana Vrăbiescu


This article explores state practices in Romania that lead to the non-, de-, and redocumenting of tens of thousands of inhabitants. Unlike state practices of (non)recording aliens (asylum seekers, refugees, undocumented migrants), the scale of dedocumenting native citizens in Romania exposes a deliberate and systematic modality of governance through exclusion from state records. These practices of citizenship dispossession lead mostly to the gender discrimination of marginalized women and the racial exclusion of Romani ethnics. People who were born and live on the state’s territory become de facto stateless. By scrutinizing state regulations and institutional practices, this article unravels the logic of dedocumenting citizens, a process that allows state actors to select those who belong to the nation on the basis of criteria that are incompatible with basic civil and human rights. This selective modality of recording endows state actors with crucial and direct control over the political and economic lives of undocumented citizens.

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Katrin Sieg

integration, however, I turn in the last part to narrative films. They tell stories in which refugees and undocumented migrants become part of European families. These stories put pressure on national (and European) border regimes through invoking universal

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Undocumented People (En)Counter Border Policing

Near and Far from the US Border

Denise Brennan

new level by making all undocumented migrants a “priority” for deportation. Every undocumented adult and child is now a walking target. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have already made 65,000 arrests since the inauguration—a 40

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Optics of regulation and control

Ieva Jusionyte and Daniel M. Goldstein

detention centers housing undocumented migrants in the United States and in Europe ( Bosworth 2011 ; Bosworth and Kaufman 2011 ; Richard and Fischer 2008 )—the walls of nation-states have reached deep into the countries’ interiors, accompanying campaigns

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Noncitizens’ Rights

Moving beyond Migrants’ Rights

Sin Yee Koh

seekers, forced migrants, victims of human trafficking and human smuggling, irregular migrants, and undocumented migrants. Oftentimes, such migrants have less recourse to seek assistance or protection in either claiming for, or defending, their social

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“China gives and China takes”

African traders and the nondocumenting states

Shanshan Lan

migrants enables African traders to bypass some of the constraints imposed on their mobility in the city by state immigration control. For example, some undocumented migrants often rely on their Chinese friends, spouses, or business partners to rent shop