Irregular Migration

Irregular Migration

The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Irregular Migration is an extremely timely and topical book, analysing the fundamental tensions at the core of present attempts to manage the movement of population in today’s world. Recent events around the globe have prompted a reappraisal of the emerging consensus on migration control.

Chapter 5: How They Survive

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Subjects: development studies, migration, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, migration, urban and regional studies, migration

Extract

There are two factors that make the lives of irregular migrants – those without proper immigration status, either to be present, or to be working – more difficult than those of citizens or legal entrants. The first is that they have to remain invisible to the immigration authorities and (presumably) to other officials concerned with law enforcement, and to citizens and legal residents who might perceive them as harmful in some way to their interests. The second is that they have to live without the support of those institutions designed to sustain the lives of lawful members of that society, including welfare systems, regulatory bodies and agencies for the protection of persons and property. That they do in fact survive, in some cases for long periods, and that a few prosper, is therefore of more than passing interest, from the standpoint of economics, law, sociology and social policy. It also links our research with the interdisciplinary study of transitional communities (Vertovec and Cohen, 1999). The question of how they remain undetected by the enforcement authorities is dealt with only briefly in this chapter; it is treated far more fully in Chapter 7. How they survive without legal membership or official support is the central issue for this chapter. We show that they do so partly because they adopt well-tried strategies, based on cultural resources available within their communities; partly because they assimilate to other groups of citizens and legal immigrants, who live on the margins of the economy...

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