Irregular Migrants and Mobilization for Rights in European Countries

The OECD estimates that there may be from 5 to 8 million irregular, or undocumented, migrants in Europe. These are individuals without a residence permit authorizing them to regularly stay in their country of destination. Once in an unregulated status, migrants are systematically denied their fundamental rights. How, then, do they mobilize to strengthen these rights? How do undocumented children claim rights? And what has the impact of the current political crises on refugee issues been on the opportunity for campaigning for status regularizations?

Drawing on research among irregular migrants in Norway, Sweden and four other EU countries, Synnøve Bendixsen, Anna Lundberg and Nando Sigona meet to discuss these topical issues.

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Anna Maria Lundberg is a senior lecturer in Human Anna LundbergRights at Malmö University, Global Political Studies and a member of Malmö Institute for Studies of Migration, Diversity and Welfare. She has a PhD in Ethnicity (Linköping University 2004) and a master degree of Public International Law (Lund University 1999). At present Anna is involved in a five-year project titled “Undocumented children’s rights claims. A multidisciplinary project on agency and contradictions between different levels of regulations and practice that reveals undocumented children’s human rights”. The project is financed by the Swedish Research Council. Anna is involved in the asylum rights movement and relates in her research to the experiences as an activist in Malmö.

Synnøve Bendixsen is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow atUni Rokkan the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Bergen (Norway). Her research interests include irregular migration, political mobilisation, Islam and Muslims in Europe, the study of inclusion and exclusion, and processes of marginalization. She has written a number of articles, book chapters, and edited volumes and one monograph: The Religious Identity of Young Muslim Women in Berlin (Brill 2013). Bendixsen has been a visiting scholar at COMPAS, Oxford University, and New York University. Since 2013 she is the co-editor of the Nordic Journal of Migration Research.

Ferdinando Sigona is Senior Lecturer and Deputy Nando SigonaDirector of the Institute of Research into Superdiversity at the University of Birmingham. His research interests include: statelessness, diasporas and the state; Romani politics and anti-Gypsyism; ‘illegality’ and the everyday experiences of undocumented migrant children and young people; and crisis, governance and governmentality of forced migration in the EU. His work has appeared in a range of international academic journals, including Sociology, Social Anthropology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Identities, Citizenship Studies and Ethnic and Racial Studies. He is author or editor of books and journal’s special issues including  The Oxford Handbook on Refugee and Forced Migration Studies (with Fiddian Qasmiyeh, Loescher and Long, 2014), Sans Papiers. The social and economic lives of undocumented migrants (with Bloch and Zetter, 2014) and Diasporas Reimagined (with Gamlen, Liberatore and Neveu Kringelbach, 2015).  Nando is also Associate Editor of the journal Migration Studies.