The last decade has witnessed an explosion of ‘immigrant protests’, political mobilizations by irregular migrants and pro-migrant activists. This special issue on ‘immigrant protest’ has emerged in response to this rise in the visibility of immigrant protests, and its central aim is to contribute to the growing body of scholarship on migrant resistance movements and to consider the implications of these struggles for critical understandings of citizenship. This introduction maps out some of the central issues and themes emerging from the contributions to this issue, exploring the tensions between integrationist and autonomous approaches and theories of migrant activism and resistance and between migrant and activist strategies of invisibility and visibility. By bringing immigrant protests to the heart of debates about citizenship, we hope to further extend discussions about the limits and the possibilities of citizenship as the material and conceptual horizon of critical social analysis and political participation and practice today.