Citizen Children, ‘Impossible Subjects’ and the Limits of Migrant Family Rights in Ireland

European Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 1, pp. 43-54, 2011

12 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2010 Last revised: 31 May 2014

Date Written: October 8, 2010

Abstract

Both the European Court of Human Rights and the Irish courts have repeatedly distinguished between the rights of settled migrants, and those whose presence in the State has been of limited duration only. Such distinctions have also been made when assessing the potential hardship that might be endured upon deportation of a parent and/or de facto deportation of a citizen child. In Strasbourg case-law, greater weight has often been given to the strength of past connections than to the significance of future potentialities, including the potential for a child to realize and enjoy her Convention rights. This approach has been followed by the Irish courts. The remarkable ease with which the rights claims of citizen children have been dismissed serves as a stark reminder of the continuing vulnerability of children in migrant families and the centrality of the State in determining the level of rights protection enjoyed. Citizen children with foreign national parents, despite their status and de jure membership of the polity, have proven as vulnerable as children in other migrant families and, on the question of family unity, in some cases, even more vulnerable. To draw on Mae Ngai’s evocative phrase, they have proven to be, in the eyes of the State, ‘impossible subjects.’

Keywords: Citizenship, Family Life, Family Unity, Migrant Children, Deportation, Immigration, Article 8 European Convention on Human Rights, Jus Soli, Ireland

Suggested Citation

Mullally, Siobhan, Citizen Children, ‘Impossible Subjects’ and the Limits of Migrant Family Rights in Ireland (October 8, 2010). European Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 1, pp. 43-54, 2011. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1689591

Siobhan Mullally (Contact Author)

University College Cork ( email )

5 Bloomfield Terrace Western Road
Cork
Ireland

HOME PAGE: http://www.ucc.ie/en/lawsite/staff/smullally/

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