The Law and Politics of the 'Shifting Border'
Forthcoming, The Shifting Border: Legal Cartographies of Migration and Mobility, Ayelet Shachar in Dialogue (Critical Powers Series, Manchester UP, 2020)
15 Pages Posted: 10 Sep 2019 Last revised: 9 Oct 2019
Date Written: September 2, 2019
This response chapter appears in a forthcoming book in the interdisciplinary Critical Powers series. Ayelet Shachar’s lead essay on The Shifting Border: Legal Cartographies of Migration and Mobility describes how states have developed myriad techniques to deter and prevent (and, selectively, to facilitate and accelerate) entry by foreign nationals. As she recounts, states seeking to deter entry have built and fortified physical barriers along their geographic borders. They have also “externalized” border controls to “make it more difficult for vulnerable migrants to reach [destination countries] safely and exercise their legal rights.” And those who succeed in crossing the border may find themselves subject to an immigration law regime that increasingly resembles criminal law enforcement. In this response, I emphasize that the shifting border is a symptom, not the disease. In my view, the core problem is not a lack of conceptual tools, but a lack of political will. Part I of this essay briefly traces the regulatory shift from location to identity that lies at the heart of Shachar’s account. Part II canvasses some of the persistent obstacles to states’ acceptance of constraints on their ability to regulate entry by non-nationals. Part III suggests that what I refer to as governance models of migration regulation might ultimately be better suited than advocacy models to addressing contemporary challenges of global human protection.
Keywords: immigration, migration, refugees, international law, border control, citizenship, nationality
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