Legal Status, Territorial Confinement, and Transnational Activities of Senegalese Migrants in France, Italy, and Spain

Erik Vickstrom, Princeton University and Institut National d'Études Démographiques (INED)

The literature on transnational activities has not sufficiently grappled with the role of physical mobility in the maintenance of affective ties that underlie non-mobile, long-distance transnational activities nor has it adequately examined the role of the state in constraining this geographical mobility. I hypothesize that the legal constraint of irregular status will both physically confine migrants to the destination territory, decreasing homeland visits, and will indirectly constrain other non-mobile transnational activities by reducing affective ties with origin communities through limited physical mobility. Senegalese migrants who lack of secure legal status are effectively confined to the destination territory, making them unable to make short visits to the homeland. Lack of occasional visits as a result of this confinement short-circuits the social infrastructure underlying remitting and investing: the affective ties that underlie long-distance cross-border activities wither when migrants are unable to circulate.

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Presented in Session 165: Unauthorized and Irregular Immigration