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Paper Citizens: How Illegal Immigrants Acquire Citizenship in Developing Countries

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In this groundbreaking work, Kamal Sadiq reveals that most of the world's illegal immigrants are not migrating directly to the US, but to countries in the vast developing world. And when they arrive in countries like India and Malaysia--which are often governed by weak and erratic bureaucracies--they are able to obtain citizenship papers fairly easily. Sadiq introduces "doc In this groundbreaking work, Kamal Sadiq reveals that most of the world's illegal immigrants are not migrating directly to the US, but to countries in the vast developing world. And when they arrive in countries like India and Malaysia--which are often governed by weak and erratic bureaucracies--they are able to obtain citizenship papers fairly easily. Sadiq introduces "documentary citizenship" to explain how paperwork--often falsely obtained--confers citizenship on illegal immigrants. Once immigrants obtain documents, Sadiq writes, it is a relatively simple matter for, say, an Afghan migrant with Pakistani papers to pass himself off as a Pakistani citizen both in Pakistan and abroad. Across the globe, there are literally tens of millions of such illegal immigrants who have assumed the guise of "citizens." Who, then, is really a citizen? And what does citizenship mean for most of the world's peoples? Rendered in vivid detail, Paper Citizens not only shows how illegal immigrants acquire false papers, but also sheds light on the consequences this will have for global security in the post 9/11 world.


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In this groundbreaking work, Kamal Sadiq reveals that most of the world's illegal immigrants are not migrating directly to the US, but to countries in the vast developing world. And when they arrive in countries like India and Malaysia--which are often governed by weak and erratic bureaucracies--they are able to obtain citizenship papers fairly easily. Sadiq introduces "doc In this groundbreaking work, Kamal Sadiq reveals that most of the world's illegal immigrants are not migrating directly to the US, but to countries in the vast developing world. And when they arrive in countries like India and Malaysia--which are often governed by weak and erratic bureaucracies--they are able to obtain citizenship papers fairly easily. Sadiq introduces "documentary citizenship" to explain how paperwork--often falsely obtained--confers citizenship on illegal immigrants. Once immigrants obtain documents, Sadiq writes, it is a relatively simple matter for, say, an Afghan migrant with Pakistani papers to pass himself off as a Pakistani citizen both in Pakistan and abroad. Across the globe, there are literally tens of millions of such illegal immigrants who have assumed the guise of "citizens." Who, then, is really a citizen? And what does citizenship mean for most of the world's peoples? Rendered in vivid detail, Paper Citizens not only shows how illegal immigrants acquire false papers, but also sheds light on the consequences this will have for global security in the post 9/11 world.

37 review for Paper Citizens: How Illegal Immigrants Acquire Citizenship in Developing Countries

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jake S

    In this book Sadiq argues that Documentary Citizens, or illegal immigrants with the documents of normal citizens, mean the levels of illegal immigration in the global South are often underestimated. Sadiq goes on to argue this creates challenges of assimilation, security and suffrage. Especially where there is a risk of ethnic tension or terrorism. He makes a convincing argument for this. Sadiq's focus is on the documents and their relation to migrants in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. This bei In this book Sadiq argues that Documentary Citizens, or illegal immigrants with the documents of normal citizens, mean the levels of illegal immigration in the global South are often underestimated. Sadiq goes on to argue this creates challenges of assimilation, security and suffrage. Especially where there is a risk of ethnic tension or terrorism. He makes a convincing argument for this. Sadiq's focus is on the documents and their relation to migrants in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. This being the focus he spends little time looking at why people might be migrating, sometimes looking at particular groups who have distinct reasons and at other times describing them by their origin nationality. It seems here there is an opportunity missed in identifying a further level of relationships between illegal documents in these areas and the reasons for mass migrations (is it economic, or avoiding violence etc). This being said the book is original and important in understanding the phenomena.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Haley Johnson

    A very interesting case study, and a refreshing break from the current overwhelmingly Western-centered research on illegal immigration. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in studying issues of legitimacy in developing nations, the politics of nation-building, and the constructed importance of citizenship documentation. My main critique is his writing which was almost distractingly redundant. Rest assured, Sadiq will tell you that he is about to make a claim, and would rather spend A very interesting case study, and a refreshing break from the current overwhelmingly Western-centered research on illegal immigration. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in studying issues of legitimacy in developing nations, the politics of nation-building, and the constructed importance of citizenship documentation. My main critique is his writing which was almost distractingly redundant. Rest assured, Sadiq will tell you that he is about to make a claim, and would rather spend three to four paragraphs telling you about the claim he's going to make then actually making it, frequently ending there and just starting a new chapter altogether. Even still, this is a book I'm glad I've read and, if you skim the fluff, I think you'll enjoy it too.

  3. 4 out of 5

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  27. 5 out of 5

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