Research Handbook on International Law and Migration
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Research Handbook on International Law and Migration

Edited by Vincent Chetail and Céline Bauloz

Migration is a complex and multifaceted issue, and the current legal framework suffers from considerable ambiguity and lack of cohesive focus. This Handbook offers a comprehensive take on the intersection of law and migration studies and provides strategies for better understanding the potential of international legal norms in regulating migration. Authoritative analyses by the most renowned and knowledgeable experts in the field focus on important migration issues and challenge the current normative framework with new ways of thinking about the topic.
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Chapter 1: Irregular migration, state sovereignty and the rule of law

Catherine Dauvergne


This Chapter situates contemporary contestation over migration within the context of early twenty-first century globalization. It is a clear marker of the politics of this terrain that key concepts in this stage setting exercise are irregular migration, state sovereignty, and to a lesser extent, rule of law. This Chapter undertakes to explain why this is so. At one level, the formula is simple enough: under conditions of globalization sovereignty is threatened - transformed if not imperilled. This transformation means that States are now much more interested in control over migration than in any previous era. This in turn means that rule of law is now more important to migration than at any previous point in time. The central argument is that the range of issues currently clamouring for attention in this field is intricately intertwined. For this reason, each topic in this book, each 'migration law issue' can be illuminated by setting it alongside each other one. The source of this illumination is how sovereignty, and thus law, is responding to globalization. The analysis here proceeds by first talking about where the idea of 'irregular migration' comes from, followed by a discussion of the state of sovereignty at the outset of the twenty-first century. The third section illustrates the connectivity thesis: that all contemporary migration phenomena are intricately intertwined. The conclusion considers what all of this may have to do with rule of law. This final argument is more challenging to articulate, but therefore more rewarding.

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