Discrimination in migration and citizenship

After decades of scholarly optimism that the immigration reforms that swept across the Global North in the postwar era had ushered in a new age of non-discriminatory migration policy, recent scholarship has challenged this narrative. This Special Issue offers an empirical and normative contribution to this critical turn in migration studies by examining the multiple ways in which immigration and citizenship policy continues to create hierarchies among migrants that mirror the intersection of non-meritocratic attributes of social group membership. We show that access to territory and citizenship is governed by highly differentiated legal distinctions that closely map onto social identities such as gender, race/ethnicity, nationality, religion, and class. This introduction maps two important and interrelated developments in the literature which this issue engages. First, the ‘politics of belonging’ remains shaped by the intersection of multiple axes of inclusion and exclusion that are (re)produced by immigration and citizenship policy. Second, whereas legal precarity has long been associated with undocumented and temporary immigration status, over the past two decades precarity has penetrated all immigration status, including those that have long been understood as secure. The article concludes with an overview of the Special Issue’s individual contributions and identifies some remaining research needs.

Antje Ellerman (Editor), Discrimination in migration and citizenship, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 2020.