chapter  3
22 Pages

Amnesty in immigration: forgetting, forgiving, freedom

ByLinda Bosniak

In many national settings, the politics of immigration are fought out by way of debates over ‘amnesty.’ While the forms that immigration amnesty may take can and do vary, the term broadly denotes a process through which unauthorized immigrants residing in a national state are given the chance to transition to legal status there. Amnesty for immigrants thus effectuates a kind of legal alchemy: through such policies, the irregular is made regular, the unlawful lawful. Amnesty, in this way, serves as a conduit from the farthest margins of citizenship to its possible, eventual center.