Towards a human right to residence security : a comparative case study of settled irregular migrants' social and legal situation in Italy and Germany
It seems a common view in European political discourse the state enjoys a broad sovereign right to exclude irregular immigrants, who reside on its territory without formal consent, from the enjoyment of any membership-specific rights. This thesis will question that view, arguing that over time immigrants become members of the social communities they settled in, even if they did so without official authorisation. Focusing on the social and legal situation of rejected asylum seekers in Italy and Germany, it will address the complex interplay between states’ sovereign right to control immigration, and settled migrants’ claims for social membership. First, patterns of exclusion, and the human rights concerns they entail, will be analysed. Following the assumption that status insecurity is the main factor, which fosters irregular migrants' marginalisation, two different pathways into regularity will then be compared: the Italian approach of implementing large scale one-off regularisation programmes for informally employed undocumented migrants, and the German system of granting a right to remain in individual hardship cases. The two systems will be critically assessed for their compatibility with existing human rights standards, their moral substance, and their socio-economic and political impacts.