This article critiques policies of deportation and deportability – a technology emanating from three seemingly conflicting rationalities: states’ obligations under international human rights regimes, capitalism’s need to facilitate the movement of labour, and the need to reaffirm state sovereignty. After outlining the concept of deportability, we argue that although justified by state actors as an integral part of asylum and immigration policies, deportability epitomizes the paradox of immigration regimes at a point of crisis. We use Israel and Ireland as case studies to illustrate that migrant deportability circumvents human rights and domestic legislation that hinder the power of the state to deport unwanted migrants. Paradoxically, in both, policies that engender the deportability of asylum seekers are a response to their undeportability. Despite their differences, Israel and Ireland are unusual immigration destinations and quintessential diaspora nations, whose histories of dispersal configure Jewishness and Irishness in ethno-racially rigid yet spatially fluid terms, as illustrated by their citizenship regimes.
Source: Ethnic and Racial Studies, first published online: 18 Sep 2014