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Legal Latins: Creating Webs and Practices of Immigration Status among Latin American Migrants in London

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)493-511
Number of pages19
Issue number3
StateE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jul 2015

King's Authors


Despite an increasingly globalised world, the effects of ever more restrictive barriers to people's movement result in people developing complex and innovative ways to enter and settle in countries beyond their own. Drawing on quantitative and qualitative research with Latin Americans in London from a range of nationalities and socio-economic backgrounds, this paper examines how migrants across the spectrum of immigration statuses have responded to these restrictions with a particular focus on negotiating irregularity. Through analysing how migrants develop a range of entry, regularisation as well as spatial, economic and social invisibility practices as they arrive and settle, the paper challenges a binary hierarchy of immigration status and subsequent well-being. Instead, it argues that conceptualising these as the creation of webs encapsulates the complexity and dynamism of migrant irregularity as migrants negotiate from above and below. The paper highlights how these webs and practices emerge from below in innovative ways that entail negotiation of fluid migration regimes that structure a wider context of exclusion within which migrants can exercise agency from below.

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