Oanh Nguyen, Department of Political Science
Abstract: In the last decades, there is a growing trend among many states to develop new laws and institutions that make the exclusion of particular migrant persons more efficient while remaining reliant upon the labor those migrants produce. Working alongside these institutional changes is a public discourse that distinguishes between the “desirable” from the “undesirable” migrant person. While the former is characterized by their potential to contribute to a nation’s socio-economic well-being or by their heightened vulnerability/need for protection, the latter is defined by the threat their foreignness poses to the nation. The purpose of this study is twofold: 1) To offer an explanation for how the distinction between desirable and undesirable migrants is made politically meaningful and 2) to understand how that distinction is used to govern migration. In other words, my project attempts to uncover the logic used by migrant-receiving states to validate how it allocates coercion and its differential treatment of migrant populations.