Racialization and Racism

Contained and abandoned in the “humane” border: Black migrants’ immobility and survival in Moroccan urban space

This article examines the effects of Morocco’s new, “humane” migration policy that claimed to center human rights and integration over securitized border enforcement. Drawing on ethnographic research, this paper demonstrates how the new migration policy expanded rather than dismantled the border regime, respatializing it from the edges of Moroccan territory into cities in the interior. Border respatialization was accomplished through abandonment, theorized not as an absence of government but a technique of governance that targets the racialized poor. Focusing on the experiences of migrants living in two urban spaces—an informal migrant settlement and a working-class neighborhood—this paper illustrates how abandonment limits black migrants’ ability to move and transgress the border, and how these effects have site-specific, as well as racial and gendered dimensions. This analysis underscores how humanitarian migration policy may have changed the modality of border violence, but not its substance.

more articles from

Volume 38 Issue 5

Explore our Topics

Though not an exhaustive list, these are many of the main areas we cover.