The children of irregular migrants: A stateless generation?

Van Waas, L.E. (2007). “The children of irregular migrants: A stateless generation?” in Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, 25(3).

Irregular migration is on the rise. In countries around the world, the – increasingly permanent – presence of large numbers of unauthorised immigrants is putting pressure on immigration and citizenship policies as a balance is sought between inclusion and exclusion. Neither large-scale regularisation or naturalisation, nor deportation, offer an appropriate solution for much of this group, so they remain – irregularly and indefinitely. Meanwhile, life goes on and families expand. Yet the arrival of a new generation, born to irregular migrants on the territory of the host state, is often overlooked by official government records. Unable to access birth registration for a number of reasons, these children miss out on that crucial evidence of their relationship with their parents and the state. Without proof of these ties, the child will have difficulty claiming the nationality to which he is entitled. This article explores how the vulnerability of irregular migrants’ children to a lack of birth registration could herald the arrival of a whole generation of stateless children.

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