This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book's main themes. This book examines how citizenship is constructed, policed, and contested in relation to irregular migration. It argues that under conditions of globalization, the terms in which citizenship is understood, and the privileges it guarantees are changing. It investigates these processes via illustrative examples that focus in particular on Australia, France, and the United States. The book also examines the political strategies that irregular migrants employ to stake claims to belong to the communities in which they live and work. It contends that irregular migrants' struggles for legitimate presence and political equality are contestations of citizenship that both undermine and reinscribe the conventional form of citizenship and the state's power to enforce it. This book thus seeks to challenge the reader to think differently about citizenship by reflecting on the constitutive acts of those who are cast as its outsiders.
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