This thesis is about how some people are ‘inside’ the protection of the law, while others are ‘outside’. More specifically it is about how some people are left vulnerable because of certain migration policies, criminalisation, economic exploitation and the exclusionary logic of borders and nations. An important question framing the issue is how the relationship between the sovereign nation-state, its legal residents and the ‘illegal’ migrants is or should be constituted and what fundamental principles that should guide these relationships of power or disempowerment.
Irregular migration stands as a huge contemporary challenge and our responses so far seem inadequate because they do not appear to stop irregular migration, and because they seem to bring us at odds with moral and human rights principles. In this thesis I will argue that we need to dramatically rethink our responses to borders and irregular migration and that the promotion of a human rights sensitive agenda can show us new ways to approach this critical issue.