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

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image of European Journal of Migration and Law

AbstractIn 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.

Affiliations: 1: Irish Centre for Human Rights, National University of IrelandGalwayIreland


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