What can we Learn from Statelessness about Migration Policy-Making?

Dr. Tendayi Bloom

Statelessness need not have anything to do with crossing borders, but thinking about statelessness raises questions also about the nature of status in the context of border-crossing. Legally, a stateless person is ‘a person who is not considered as a national by any State under the operation of its law’. When statelessness is considered in the context of migration, it is largely because statelessness can preclude people from safe and regular migration routes, it can drive people to migrate and it can in turn arise from migration. But I argue that in trying to understand the realities of statelessness today, we learn something important about the international state system, and this can help us to understand something core about migration policy-making. In this paper, I will focus on the process towards the global compact for migration, which was set out in the second annex of the New York Declaration of September 2016. I will briefly touch up on how it came about and how its negotiations have played out. I will then explore the relevance of statelessness to the process and how this has been reflected in the way in which statelessness has (or has not) been addressed. The global compact for migration will be launched in a September 2018, so this paper will be timely and its findings will be based upon research currently underway into the process and how it is progressing.