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The Migration Industry in Managed Migration: Authority, Control and Guestworkers in the United States

Doctoral thesis
Authors Joseph Trawicki Anderson
Date of public defense 2019-02-08
ISBN 978-91-7833-303-5
Publisher Göteborgs universitet
Publication year 2019
Published at School of Global Studies, Peace and Development Research
Language en
Links hdl.handle.net/2077/58212
Keywords migration industry, managed migration, guestworkers, H-2 visa, assemblages, privatization
Subject categories Globalization Studies, International Migration and Ethnic Relations

Abstract

This thesis is an investigation into the private migration actors, also known as the migration industry, that have become ubiquitous within managed migration programs in the United States. From employers and visa agents to recruiters and law firms, a tremendous number of private actors have become embedded within modern migration programs. While generally not employed by state authorities, these private actors nonetheless play important roles throughout the state-sanctioned migration programs examined here. Therefore, based on an analysis of their particular roles and relationships, the aim of this study is to examine how the involvement of private actors within guestworker programs functions in practice and how it alters the ways in which sovereign prerogatives of control and authority over migrants are exercised. In doing so, it focuses in particular on the assemblages of authority and control over migration created through the complex interactions of public and private actors. Empirically, this project examines the H-2 visa, a temporary working visa in the United States as well as an attempt to create a similar ‘guestworker’ program in the state of Utah. Drawing on fieldwork as well as government documents and data, this project traces the roles and relationships of public and private actors. In doing so, it looks to see how certain functions of authority and control are exercised. Overall, this thesis develops a deeper understanding of the ways in which the migration industry functions in the context of managed migration programs. It concludes that the migration industry does not operate merely as a passive performer of or ancillary to state functions. Rather, the migration industry is deeply enmeshed within sovereign prerogatives over migration. Thus, what emerges is not a system in which processes are clearly public or private, but rather complex assemblages of authority and control over these managed migration programs that blur public/private distinctions.

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