A Paper Trail to Citizenship


Wednesday, April 7, 2010, 4:10pm to 5:30pm


Pop Center, 9 Bow Street, 1st Floor Conference Room

Kamal SadiqKamal Sadiq, University of California, Irvine

About the Seminar
At this seminar, Professor Kamal Sadiq will discuss his book Paper Citizens. Sadiq reveals that most of the world’s illegal immigrants are not migrating directly to the U.S., but rather to countries in the vast developing world. And when they arrive in countries like India and Malaysia – which are often governed by weak and erratic bureaucracies – they are able to obtain citizenship papers fairly easily. Sadiq introduces “documentary citizenship” to explain how paperwork – often falsely obtained – confers citizenship on illegal immigrants. Once immigrants obtain documents, it is a relatively simple matter for, say, an Afghan migrant with Pakistani papers to pass himself off as a Pakistani citizen both in Pakistan and abroad. Across the globe, there are literally tens of millions of such illegal immigrants who have assumed the guise of “citizens.” Who, then, is really a citizen? And what does citizenship mean for most of the world’s peoples? Paper Citizens not only shows how illegal immigrants acquire citizenship through false papers, but also sheds light on the consequences this will have for global security.

About Kamal Sadiq
Kamal Sadiq specializes in comparative politics, immigration, and international security with a particular emphasis on developing countries. Specifically, his research focuses on immigration from and within developing countries, security implications of global criminal flows, ethnic conflict, Asian security, and international relations theory. His regional expertise is in Southeast Asia (Malaysia, Indonesia, Southern Philippines) and South Asia (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh).

Democracy Seminar Series
The Democracy Seminar Series brings distinguished speakers to Harvard Kennedy School for the academic year address critical challenges facing democratic governance.