Irregular Status, Territorial Confinement, and Blocked Transnationalism: Legal Constraints on Circulation and Remittances of Senegalese Migrants in France, Italy, and Spain


This paper explores the link between legal status and transnational engagement through the lenses of territorial confinement and blocked transnationalism. We hypothesize that irregular legal status results both in direct territorial confinement–inability to visit the homeland–in indirect caging of remitting, an important non-mobile transnational activity. This caging is hypothesized to result from an attenuation of social ties associated with reduced physical co-presence with kin and other important individuals in the homeland. Using longitudinal data on Senegalese migrants in France, Italy, and Spain from the MAFE Project, we find that Senegalese migrants who lack of secure legal status are effectively confined to the destination territory, preventing them from making short visits to the homeland. The direct and indirect relationships between irregular status and remittances, though, vary by destination country: the hypothesized relationships are not evident for migrants in Spain, indicating the role played by other facets of the context of reception, such as policy tolerance and the characteristics of the co-ethnic community.

In: Comparative Migration Studies, (4), 1, pp. 1-29,