Disorderly Borders: How International Law Shapes Irregular Migration

ISBN : 9780190908775

Chantal Thomas
368 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Oct 2019
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Immigration crises faced by the United States today show the interplay between areas of global law and policy that might at first glance seem quite disparate-economic law, human rights and refugee law, and criminal law relating to the trafficking and smuggling of migrants. This book is largely dedicated to unpacking those dynamics and ultimately argues that reform efforts must be expanded.
Using as a central case study how international law relates to the irregular labor migration of undocumented migrant farm workers in upstate New York, this book examines the conditions for entry of these workers, for their residence and work while in the US, and finally what happens if they are apprehended and subject to expulsion. The author aims to show that the presence of these migrants can be significantly attributed to dynamics flowing from international economic law, and that the interaction of international economic law with international human rights, refugee, labor and criminal law in defining their legal rights and remedies is often incoherent. As such, this wave of irregular migration might be seen as the product of a "perfect storm" in international law: a vexed and unstable relationship between disparate regimes that propels dynamic population movements without just and orderly means of protection.


Table of Abbreviations
Table of Cases
Table of Statutes and Other Legislative Materials
Table of Treaties and Other International Instruments
Note on Citation Style
Chapter 1. The Problem: Irregular Migration
Chapter 2. Fragmentation: International Law Standards on the Rights and Treatment of Irregular Migrants
Chapter 3. Asymmetry: Irregular Migration as an Effect of International Economic Law
Chapter 4. Exclusion: Immigration Crises in International Law
Chapter 5. Conclusions

About the author: 

Chantal Thomas is Professor of Law at Cornell Law School, where she also directs the Clarke Initiative for Law and Development in the Middle East and North Africa.

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