gTo be Excluded and Unfree: Revisiting the Partial Citizenship of Migrants in the 21st Centuryh
Prof. Rhacel Salazar Parrenas
Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies University of Southern California
My talk revisits the concept of partial citizenship. As applied to the case of migrant domestic workers, partial citizenship indicates they are neither fully incorporated in receiving nations nor completely protected by sending nations. In other words, they are denied full membership at both ends of the migration spectrum. In this talk, I further unpack my earlier discussion of gpartial citizenship,h while extending its application beyond domestic workers. I re-examine the exclusionary conditions that define partial citizenship, while evaluating the utility of the concept for understanding the legal conditions of membership for both labor and family migrants. As I show, a salient factor that defines partial citizenship is their status as s p o n s o r e d m i g r a n t s whose legal residency is conditional to their continued employment or marriage to a sponsoring employer or spouse respectively. For instance, this is the case for international spouses, who in most countries must remain married to a citizen-spouse for two to five years before qualifying for permanent residency, or for migrant domestic workers, whose legal residency in most destinations is likewise contingent on their continuous live-in employment with a sponsoring employer. Sponsored migrants are subjected to a relationship of unequal dependency with their sponsor. This is because their legal status is conditional to their continuous marriage or employment; they are encouraged to tolerate abusive conditions while left precarious by the power of their sponsor (whether their spouse or employer) to divorce or fire (hence deport) them at will. This talk extends our understanding of migrant exclusion or the lack of full membership for migrants, by describing how sponsored migration is a central condition of partial citizenship and then examining the significance and logic of this condition for understanding the legal status of migrants in the 21st century.