Human rights seemingly offer universal protection. However, irregular migrants have, at best, only problematic access to human rights. Whether understood as an ethical injunction or legally codified norm, the promised protection of human rights seems to break down when it comes to the lived experience of irregular migrants. This book therefore asks three key questions of great practical and theoretical importance. First, what do we mean when we speak of human rights? Second, is the problematic access of irregular migrants to human rights protection an issue of implementation, or is it due to the inherent characteristics of the concept of human rights? Third, should we look beyond human rights for an effective source of protection? Written is an accessible style, with a range of socio-legal and doctrinal approaches, the chapters focus on the situation of the irregular migrant in Europe and the United States. Throughout the book, nuanced theoretical debates are put in the context of concrete case studies. The critical reflections it offers on the limitations and possibilities of human rights protections for irregular migrants will be invaluable for students, scholars and practitioners.
Introduction, Marie-Bénédicte Dembour and Tobias Kelly; Part I: Taking it as a given: The affirmation of the optimist; 1. The Recognition of the Rights of Migrants within the UN Human Rights System: the First SixtyYears, Stefanie Grant; 2. Irregular Migration and Frontier Deaths: Acknowledging a Right to Identity, Stefanie Grant; Part II: Deliberating: The efforts of those who work the system; 3. The Constitutional Status of Irregular Migrants: Testing the Boundaries of Human Rights Protection in Spain and the United States, Cristina Rodriguez and Ruth Rubio Marin; 4. The Human Rights of Migrants as Legal tools and Discursive Principles for Re-Framing Individual Justice in Modern Constitutionalism, Galina Cornelisse; Part III: Protesting: The outrage of the witness; 5. ‘Not our problem’: Why the conditions of irregular migrants in detention are not considered a human rights issue in Malta, Daniela De Bono; 6. The Calaisis area: transit zone or dead-end?, Marie Martin; Part IV: Keeping one’s distance: The puzzlement of the sceptic; 7. Human Rights and Immigration Detention in the UK, Mary Bosworth; 8. The Legalisation of Human Rights and the Protection of Torture Survivors: Asylum, Evidence and Disbelief, Tobias Kelly; 9. The Rights of the Person: a Constitutional Agenda Drawn from the US Experience, Linda Bosniak; 10. Afterword, Upendra Baxi