Mobilization for the Rights of “Sans-Papiers”: Political Incorporation of Irregular Migrants in Morocco
Since early 2000s, trans-Saharan migration through Morocco has been represented in Morocco not only as an external dimension of the EU migration policies but also as a Moroccan public issue. One less explored consequence of the politicization of irregular migration is the increasing role played by civil societal actors in migrants’ incorporation. Despite limitations in their capacity, civil society has worked towards putting the EU and the Moroccan state responsible of the rights abuses and vulnerable situation of irregular migrants on the Moroccan soil. As a partial response to these critiques, the Moroccan government has announced a new migratory approach and launched a regularization program being implemented since January 2014. Situating the discussion of the mobilization for the rights of irregular migrants within the wider transformations of the Moroccan society, this paper analyses the emergence of irregular immigration as an issue of humanitarian and rights-based activism in the Moroccan context. The paper particularly focuses on mobilization strategies through which migrants in irregular status have become political actors. Sub-Saharan migrants in Morocco have become vocal by establishing their informal associations, by contesting violent practices they are facing and by forging alliances with local and transnational civil societal actors. In dialogue with social movements and irregular migration literature, the paper explores how marginal groups, i.e. irregular migrants make their voices heard. The paper elaborates on the specificity of the Moroccan case where the EU-led politicization of irregular migration has resulted in the recognition of irregular migrants as political actors.