ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Criminalisation of Cross-border Migration

Gendered Stories of Resistance in South Asia

Women, Mobility and Incarceration: Love and Recasting of Self across the Bangladesh–India Border by Rimple Mehta, Oxon and New York: Routledge, 2018; pp xix + 161, price not indicated.


Issues of immigration and cross-­border mobility have always generated fervent reactions in national policy debates around citizenship and security. While migration control is har­dly a new aspect of this debate, there has been in recent times a greater blurring of distinctions between criminal justice and immigration policy—a shift that Western scholarship has termed “crimmigration” (Stumpf 2006). Parallel to, or rather preceding this, are the discourses on migration, securitisation and criminalisation that have the power to frame migrants as deviant characters and security risks, delegitimising them in society.

In India, these trends were perhaps most visible in the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the updation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), which, taken together, redefined the contours of citizenship for “ill­egal” migrants—to the exclusion of primarily the Muslim migrant population. While the discursive criminalisation of Muslim migrants or refugees began much earlier, it was apparent in the narratives of “illegal immigrant” and “infiltrators” that coloured the debates on citi­zenship and security. The legislative arsenal of CAA–NRC was supplemented by a host of other confinement and criminalisation tactics, from expanding dep­or­tation powers to construction of networks of detention centres.

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Updated On : 18th Jun, 2021
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