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Legal Status, Territorial Confinement, and Transnational Activities of Senegalese Migrants in France, Italy, and Spain


  • Erik R. Vickstrom

    (United States Census Bureau)


This paper examines the link between legal status and transnational activities. The literature on transnational activities has not sufficiently grappled with the role of physical mobility in the maintenance of effective ties that underlie non-mobile, long-distance transnational activities nor has it adequately examined the role of the state in constraining this geographical mobility. I thus hypothesize that the legal constraint of irregular status will both physically confine migrants to the destination territory, decreasing homeland visits, and will indirectly constrain other non-mobile transnational activities by reducing effective ties with origin communities through limited physical mobility. I find that Senegalese migrants who lack of secure legal status are effectively confined to the destination territory, making them unable to make short visits to the homeland. Lack of occasional visits as a result of this confinement short-circuits the entire social infrastructure underlying remitting and investing: the effective ties that underlie long-distance cross-border activities wither when migrants are unable to circulate. I also find an important difference between household-based activities — remitting and investing — and the communal activity of hometown association participation, with the former being more responsive to the territorial confinement produced by irregular status.

Suggested Citation

  • Erik R. Vickstrom, 2014. "Legal Status, Territorial Confinement, and Transnational Activities of Senegalese Migrants in France, Italy, and Spain," Working Papers 15-01h, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Migration and Development..
  • Handle: RePEc:pri:cmgdev:15-01h

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chort, Isabelle & Gubert, Flore & Senne, Jean-Noël, 2012. "Migrant networks as a basis for social control: Remittance incentives among Senegalese in France and Italy," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(5), pages 858-874.
    2. German Rodriguez & Irma Elo, 2003. "Intra-class correlation in random-effects models for binary data," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, vol. 3(1), pages 32-46, March.
    3. Alejandro Portes, 2010. "Economic Sociology: A Systematic Inquiry," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 9211.
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    More about this item


    Senegal; France; Italy; Spain; remittances;

    JEL classification:

    • F24 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Remittances
    • K37 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Immigration Law

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