College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

International Studies


statelessness, undocumented migration, birthright citizenship, political economy of migration, United States


Decolonisation, the end of the Cold War, the break-up of the Soviet Union, the violent dismantling of Yugoslavia, and the formation of the European Union are all events that represent the shifting relationship between states and people and between states themselves. The changing structure of states, globalization, the allocation of resources, and migration contribute to the contemporary debates about citizenship. This thesis examines the contemporary debate on citizenship and the evolving concepts of citizenship and political membership. Using a contemporary debate from the United States regarding immigration and an undocumented population, this thesis will suggest that this is not only a debate about citizenship and immigration, but it is about statelessness as well. Rather than focus on citizenship and the attainment of certain liberties, this thesis examines statelessness as the actual condition of possibility for exclusion as part of the conversation about citizenship.