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Outsourcing the border : recruiters and sovereign power in labour migration to Canada Zell, Sarah Elizabeth 2018

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 OUTSOURCING THE BORDER: RECRUITERS AND SOVEREIGN POWER  IN LABOUR MIGRATION TO CANADA  by  SARAH ELIZABETH ZELL   A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF  DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL STUDIES (Geography)  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (Vancouver)  December 2018  © Sarah Elizabeth Zell, 2018    ii  The following individuals certify that they have read, and recommend to the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for acceptance, the dissertation entitled: Outsourcing the Border: Recruiters and Sovereign Power in Labour Migration to Canada  submitted by Sarah Elizabeth Zell in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Geography  Examining Committee: Geraldine Pratt, Geography Supervisor  Daniel Hiebert, Geography Supervisory Committee Member  David Ley, Geography Supervisory Committee Member Jamie Peck, Geography University Examiner Rima Wilkes, Sociology University Examiner  Additional Supervisory Committee Members: Jennifer Chun, Sociology Supervisory Committee Member  Supervisory Committee Member  iii  Abstract Drawing on multi-sited qualitative fieldwork, this dissertation examines the recruitment and migration process of temporary migrants through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program for work in lower-skilled jobs in Western Canada. Situated in an understanding of Canada as a recruited nation, I trace shifts in immigration policy that prioritize economic development and which have led to more market-driven and temporary migration flows. With a focus on recruitment practices, the dissertation contributes to theorizations of the “migration industry.” I take third-party recruiters, labour market intermediaries who facilitate and regulate migrant flows, as an entry point for considering how practices of gatekeeping and brokering (re)produce migrant subjects and the borders of the state. My analysis focuses on more “legitimate” recruiters because of an interest in disclosing power relationships in the legal, everyday business of recruitment. It reveals that even as some recruiters provide significant assistance and care, their actions and motivations can also produce and intensify precarity for migrant workers vis-à-vis their employers and the state.  At the heart of this dissertation is an argument about configurations of state power—specifically, about forms and spatializations of sovereign power. My analysis examines the position of recruiters within the labour migration cycle and how their interactions with the state enable their legitimation as mobile bordering agents. I posit that recruiters are “petty sovereigns,” who make largely unsupervised and discretionary decisions that impact migrant access to the transnational labour market and the Canadian nation-state. These decisions play out in a transnational sphere, at the front-end of the migration process, and in spaces beyond Canadian jurisdiction. In a market-driven context, the devolution and outsourcing of migrant selection and admission from the state to employers, and employers to contracted third-party recruiters, effectively contributes to the contracting out of accountability. While they are integral to the regulation of labour markets and cross-border flows, recruiters remain largely invisible in many accounts of migration, and one objective of this dissertation is to write these agential actors into larger discourses on neoliberal governance and migration management.    iv  Lay Summary This dissertation examines the role of labour recruiters in recruitment and migration processes of migrants working in lower-skilled jobs in Western Canada through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. As part of this research, I conducted interviews and surveys with a variety of stakeholders. Many challenges associated with temporary migrant worker programs, including those related to migrant insecurity and misrepresentation or fraud, originate or are intensified through the recruitment process. It is common for employers hiring migrants to outsource recruitment, contracting third-party recruiters to select and assist migrant workers. The analysis illustrates how recruiters act as mobile “border agents,” who exercise a high degree of discretionary power in making decisions about whom to select and on what basis. This study contributes to our understanding of the role of third-party recruiters in transnational migration and the extent to which their actions facilitate and regulate migrant movements across national borders. v  Preface This dissertation is an original, independent, intellectual product of the author, Sarah Zell. Ethics approval for fieldwork was obtained through the UBC Behavioural Research Ethics Board, Certificate Number H09-01559.  Some work presented in Chapters 4 and 6 appears in the following publication:  Zell, S. 2011. Contracting Out Accountability? Third-Party Agents in Temporary Foreign Worker Recruitment to British Columbia. In Mistreatment of Temporary Foreign Workers in Canada: Overcoming Regulatory Barriers and Realities on the Ground, edited by Eugene Depatie-Pelletier and Khan Rahi. WP CMQ-IM no. 46. Montreal: Quebec Metropolis Centre, Centre for Inter-university Research on Immigration, Integration and Urban Dynamics, 27–44.   A portion of Chapter 7 has been published in: Polanco, G., and S. Zell. 2017. English as a Border-Drawing Matter: Language and the Regulation of Migrant Service Worker Mobility in International Labor Markets. Journal of International Migration and Integration 18(1): 267–89. Contribution: 50 percent.  vi  Table of Contents Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... iii Lay Summary ............................................................................................................................... iv Preface .............................................................................................................................................v Table of Contents ......................................................................................................................... vi List of Tables ................................................................................................................................ xi List of Figures .............................................................................................................................. xii List of Acronyms ........................................................................................................................ xiii Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. xiiiv Chapter 1: Introduction ................................................................................................................1 1.1 Introduction ........................................................................................................................ 1 1.2 Migration Management and the Shift Toward Temporary Labour Flows ......................... 6 1.3 Structure of the Dissertation ............................................................................................ 12 Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework – Petty Sovereigns and Spatializing the Border ...........15 2.1 Transnationalism and Spatializing the State .................................................................... 16 2.1.1 Transnationalism in Migration Studies .................................................................... 16 2.1.2 Rethinking the State .................................................................................................. 19 2.1.3 State Sovereignty as Delinked from Territory .......................................................... 22 2.2 Border Studies and Border Friction ................................................................................. 25 2.2.1 Evolution of the Concept of the Border .................................................................... 26 2.2.2 Border Friction and Bordering through an Ontology of Differential Inclusion ...... 33 2.3 Performativity and the Performative Border .................................................................... 40 2.4 Recruiters as Petty Sovereigns ......................................................................................... 45 vii  2.4.1 Petty Sovereigns as Decision-Makers that Produce Subjects................................... 46 2.4.2 Sovereign Power as Outside the Law, and Productive of Border Spaces ................ 48 2.5 Conclusion: Why the Border as an Analytical Frame? .................................................... 51 Chapter 3: A Multi-sited, Mobile Methodology ........................................................................54 3.1 Introduction and Research Questions .............................................................................. 54 3.2 Research Approach and Epistemological Framework ..................................................... 57 3.2.1 Taking a Transnational Frame ................................................................................. 57 3.2.2 Multi-sited Approaches to Studying Global Mobility ............................................... 59 3.3 Methods............................................................................................................................ 64 3.3.1 Institutional Ethnographic Fieldwork....................................................................... 65 3.3.2 Observation in Other Spaces .................................................................................... 68 3.3.3 Interviews .................................................................................................................. 69 3.3.4 Survey of Recruiters and Employers ......................................................................... 73 3.4 Rationale for Sites and Sectors ........................................................................................ 76 3.5 Analysis............................................................................................................................ 81 3.6 Concluding Reflections on Positionality ......................................................................... 83 Chapter 4: Situating Temporary Labour Recruitment in Western Canada .........................87 4.1 Canada as a Recruited Nation of Permanent Settlers....................................................... 87 4.1.1 Recruiters and Labour Brokers in Early ‘Nation’ Building ..................................... 87 4.2 Evolution of Canadian Immigration Policy ..................................................................... 92 4.2.1 Shift from ‘Nation-Building’ to Human Capital Approach ...................................... 92 4.2.2 Human Capital Model and the Point System ............................................................ 96 4.2.3 Spatial Devolution and the Geography of (Im)migration as a Policy Problem ....... 98 viii  4.2.4 Immigration as Tool for Economic Development ................................................... 103 4.3 Conclusion ..................................................................................................................... 108 Chapter 5: Situating Recruiters in a “Wild West” Labour Market .....................................110 5.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 110 5.2 Expansion of Temporary Labour Migration .................................................................. 111 5.2.1 Recruitment Through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program ........................... 111 5.2.2 Expansion of the Program and Evolution of the Low Skill Stream ........................ 116 5.3 Labour Crisis and the “Wild West” Canadian Labour Market ...................................... 119 5.3.1 Labour Shortages and a Discourse of Crisis .......................................................... 119 5.3.2 A Labour Market on Fire Requires Urgent Intervention ........................................ 124 5.4 TFWP Expansion: An Exception Becomes a Norm ...................................................... 129 5.4.1 Rise of the Recruitment Industry ............................................................................. 135 5.5 Outsourcing of Migration Management......................................................................... 138 Chapter 6: Recruiters as Authorized Representatives and Crooked Consultants – The Legitimation of Petty Sovereigns ..............................................................................................146 6.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 146 6.2 The Migration Machine – Labour Market Intermediaries ............................................. 148 6.3 Regulating the Transnational Recruitment Process ....................................................... 153 6.3.1 Rubberstamping and the Border as (Pre)clearance ............................................... 153 6.3.2 Fees, Fraud, and Crooked Consultants .................................................................. 162 6.4 Legitimation as Recognition in the Eyes of the State .................................................... 178 6.4.1 Ontological Legitimacy ........................................................................................... 178 6.4.2 Professionalization and Production of Expert Knowledge ..................................... 182 ix  6.4.3 The Application as Site/Technology of Bordering .................................................. 185 6.5 Conclusion: Contracting out Accountability ................................................................. 192 Chapter 7: Bordering as Discriminating – Recruiters and the Selection and (Re)Production of Migrant Workers ...................................................................................................................197 7.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 197 7.2 Constructing a Labour Pool: Recruiters as Pre-screening Border Agents ..................... 200 7.2.1 Discriminatory Screening on Skill Level and Work Experience ............................. 202 7.2.2 Auditioning for Entry: Assessments of Language Ability ....................................... 208 7.2.3 Recruiting Reliable Workers ................................................................................... 220 7.3 Recruiters Mediating Admission for the State ............................................................... 224 7.4 Recruiters as Discretionary Deciders ............................................................................. 230 Chapter 8: Recruiters as Vigilante Nation-Builders...............................................................238 8.1 Introduction .................................................................................................................... 238 8.2 Humanitarian Bordering Through an Ontology of Differential Inclusion ..................... 240 8.3 Recruiters as Vigilante Border Agents .......................................................................... 243 8.4 Vigilantism Through Humanitarian Borderwork........................................................... 254 8.4.1 Protecting—and “Humanizing”—Migrant Workers .............................................. 254 8.4.2 Recruiting to Save the Nation ................................................................................. 262 8.5 Recruiters as Paternal Sovereigns, and a Masculinist Logic of Care ............................ 268 8.6 Concluding Thoughts ..................................................................................................... 275 Chapter 9: Conclusion ...............................................................................................................281 9.1 Out of the Shadows: Making Recruiters Visible ........................................................... 281 9.2 Summary of Main Arguments and Contributions .......................................................... 283 x  9.3 Reflections on the Project .............................................................................................. 289 9.4 Precarity, and Immediate and Stop-Gap Solutions ........................................................ 292 9.5 Future Directions ........................................................................................................... 297 References ...................................................................................................................................301 Appendices ..................................................................................................................................320 Appendix A Survey of Services Provided in Migrant Worker Recruitment and Integration . 321 Appendix B The Financial Cost of Recruitment..................................................................... 323 Appendix C Alternative Recruitment Models and Recommendations ................................... 326 C.1 Primary Recommendations ....................................................................................... 327  xi  List of Tables Table 1: Distribution of Interviews ............................................................................................... 72  xii  List of Figures Figure 1: A Mundane “Border Space”? ……………………………………………………….. 10 Figure 2: Permanent versus Temporary Migrant Arrivals in Canada, 2000–2012 ……………113  Figure 3: Labour Migration Cycle …………………………………………………………….154 Figure 4: Ads Warning about Recruiters ……………………………………………………...168 Figure 5: Manitoba Public Registry of Individuals Licensed to Recruit Migrant Workers …...173 Figure 6: Labour Mobility Mechanism Website ………………………………………………212 Figure 7: “Rejected Candidates” ………………………………………………………………216 Figure 8: Excerpt of English Language Exam and Sample Evaluation ……………………….217  xiii  List of Acronyms  BC - British Columbia CBSA - Canada Border Services Agency  CEC - Canadian Experience Class  CIC - Citizenship and Immigration Canada (now known as IRCC) CLB - Canadian Language Benchmark CSIC - Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (now known as ICCRC) E-LMO - Expedited Labour Market Opinion ESDC - Employment and Social Development Canada (formerly known as HRSDC)  HRSDC - Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (now known as ESDC) ICCRC - Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (formerly known as CSIC) ILO - International Labour Organization  IMP - International Mobility Program IOM - International Organization for Migration IRCC - Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (formerly known as CIC) IRPA - Immigration and Refugee Protection Act  LCP - Live-in Caregiver Program  LMI - Labour market intermediary LMIA - Labour Market Impact Assessment (formerly known as LMO) LMM - Labour Mobility Mechanism – Canada–Mexico  LMO - Labour Market Opinion (now known as LMIA) NOC - National Occupational Classification  PNP - Provincial Nominee Program  xiv  SAWP - Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program  SLSO - Stream for Lower Skilled Occupations  STPS - Secretería del Trabajo y Previsión Social (Secretariat of Labour and Social Welfare) TFWP - Temporary Foreign Worker Program  WRAPA - Worker Recruitment and Protection Act   xv  Acknowledgements  Invisible labour underpins and makes possible any story—and there were so many hours spent, conversations had, and connections forged and maintained that contributed to this project. I recognize my immense privilege in finding myself in such an engaged network of scholars, advocates, service providers, policymakers, and friends who have supported my research journey through the years.   I am grateful to have had such dedicated supervisory committee members, all of whom have incredibly busy lives but have remained committed to supporting me. I thank David Ley for his warmth and discerning insights, and for the gift of his time (even in retirement!). Jennifer Chun stuck with me even as her own path moved across the country and continent. She challenged me to think more deeply and I always came away from our conversations reeling with inspiration. I am indebted to Dan Hiebert for his careful and impassioned engagement with my work, generous support, and practical advice, for facilitating professional development opportunities and for reminding me to think pragmatically. Finally, I thank Gerry Pratt for her guidance, patience, and willingness to wade through unwieldy drafts! She provided unflagging support, timely feedback, and hospitality, and her approach to research and the work of dialogue serve as an aspirational model for me going forward.   I learned much working as a research assistant for Gregory Feldman and thank him for the opportunity and for his good humour. I also thank Jamie Peck and Rima Wilkes for serving as my doctoral examiners and lending their insights and enthusiasm for my work. I would especially like to express my gratitude to Luin Goldring, who served as external examiner, for her perceptive, validating, and generative suggestions.   Of course, this research would not have been possible without the participation of all the respondents, and I am honoured they shared their perspectives with me. They were generous with their time and their candour. Guady provided excellent and enthusiastic research assistance in Mexico City, and I owe much gratitude to her family, both for providing lodging and helpful logistical support and for indulging the occasional eccentric requests of a pregnant woman! Thanks also to May Farrales, who assisted with the survey—I can feel your smile across the distance, and years. I am also grateful to Tom Carter. I was fortunate to sit next to him in a conference room years ago, and it changed the course of my project and career in ways I’m sure neither of us could have anticipated at the time.  The following institutions provided financial and administrative support: the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the University of British Columbia, Metropolis British Columbia, the Liu Institute for Global Issues, Mitacs and the Government of British Columbia, and the University of Winnipeg. I could not have undertaken all that I did without the generous support they offered. The analysis and opinions expressed in this dissertation, as well as any oversights or inaccuracies, are my own.  The people I am fortunate to work with at the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Winnipeg have contributed to my ongoing education and have been supportive throughout the xvi  latter stages of this endeavour. Jino Distasio, in particular, has been incredibly encouraging (and has always known when not to ask about how the writing is going!).   I am so grateful for the community that has shared the journey with me and enriched my work and intellectual development. At UBC, I found myself challenged and charmed by my fellow graduate students and friends. There are countless people with whom I’ve shared stories, wine, and ideas, especially Lachlan Barber, Sarah Brown (long live the supportique!), Chris Harker, Eileen Jones, Kat Lupton, Laura Madokoro, Tyler Pearce, Roza Tchoukaleyska, and Justin Tse and the Migration Coffee crew. Thanks also goes to Lauren Martin for her much-appreciated advice. Connecting with Emily Jane Davis and Luna Vives, in particular, have contributed to my formation as a scholar, citizen, and friend. Geraldina Polanco has been an excellent collaborator and valued friend, and she has encouraged me along this path more than she probably realizes.  In Winnipeg, I have connected with a collaborative, intelligent, and hilarious group of colleagues and friends. I thank Jill Bucklaschuk, Bronwyn Dobchuk-Land, Derek Dunlop, and Ray Silvius for their ongoing friendship and motivation. I am grateful to Shauna Labman, Mya Wheeler, and Amelia Curran for reading and providing feedback on chapter drafts and for sharing their wisdom (and coffees and wine!) as we collectively navigate the nexus of academia and motherhood. Amelia, you have been invaluable as a sounding board, commiserator, and cheerleader. I am serious when I say I would not have finished this dissertation without you and your analytical incisiveness, friendship, and dry wit. I also thank the Migrant Worker Solidarity Network for reminding me why I got into this in the first place.  My family has provided love and affirmation along this journey. My father has modeled persistence and compassion, and my mother an open embrace of the world and its cultures and languages. They have encouraged me to cross all sorts of borders, including those of my own making. I am deeply grateful to Roberta and Bob for their support and for use of their cottage for writing retreats! Karl is largely responsible for my decision to pursue this project, and I thank him and our children for grounding me and giving me perspective. Without Karl, Nina, and Solly this might have taken half the time, but would not have been nearly half as interesting.   I want to close with an acknowledgement that this project and dissertation were undertaken on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations; the ancestral lands of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, the Xwsepsum (Esquimalt) and Lkwungen (Songhees) Nations; the traditional territory of the Nahuatl and Mexihcah (Triple Alliance) peoples; and on Treaty 1 territory, traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and the homeland of the Métis Nation. Such acknowledgements recognize the need for change in settler colonial societies and can be sites of disruption—flowing from the work of Indigenous peoples themselves to counter invisibilization. They force settlers to confront our own place in these lands, and wrestling with this question—and the responsibilities it entails—is unsettling and must be ongoing. It is central to my thinking about nations, citizenship and belonging, and borders. I would like it to provoke reflection on our everyday, invisible borders, and on how we can be in good relationship.  1  Chapter 1: Introduction 1.1 Introduction I begin this story in medias res—I spoke on the phone with one migrant worker, whom I will refer to as Nancy, during a time in her life she referred to as “the middle of things.” When I met Nancy, she was nearly halfway through a two-year term in Canada, working as a cashier at a fast-food restaurant in northern British Columbia (BC). She was recruited from Jamaica and was considering her next step: Would she ask her employer to sponsor her, so she could apply for permanent residency in Canada? Would she return to Jamaica, where her nine-year-old son was still living (cared for by his grandmother in Nancy’s absence), at the end of her contract? Or would she “go for another option”—look for temporary work elsewhere overseas?  In many respects, Nancy is in the middle of things, and yet her labour migration story started long before this particular iteration. Before coming to Canada, she had worked on temporary visas for six years off and on in the United States: as a cleaner in a hotel in Texas, as an a la carte server back home in a Jamaican restaurant, as a hostess at a fine-dining establishment in Arizona, as a hotel bartender on the U.S. west coast. She has cycled in and out of occupations in the hospitality sector, across geopolitical entities, enduring more or less attenuated relationships with family members back home and with the communities where she resided for a time.  The stipulations of the program she is working under in Canada, the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), do not allow her family to accompany her in Canada. Even if she had the time off work for a visit, she cannot afford the plane ticket home on her minimum-wage salary—a wage much lower than the Jamaica-based employment agency had advertised in the newspaper when she applied for the job. Nancy says her current employer has promised two 2  weeks of vacation once she hits her one-year anniversary at the job, and she is saving every penny until then.  I asked whether she has thought about staying in Canada, and she said she tries not to think about the future, that she has to focus on getting through each day: “I have to just see what happen[s]. I never plan about tomorrow. Right now if I think, I feel like I want to pick up runnin’ away—I gonna run away and go home. … Because I don’t really, I don’t really want to stay away from my son—my son is my son.”  During our conversation she was positive, even chipper, but there was an undercurrent of resignation. Nancy emphatically insisted that she made her own decision to work abroad. However, after approaching an employment agency in Jamaica to apply for the job in Canada—and paying the requisite fee they charged (in this case $4,000 U.S.)—she said the timing and location of the work were out of her hands:  It’s like they get a job first, and they tell you where you’re going. They say, “You’re going to go to this place. You’re going to go—you[’re] going to do this job.” … We don’t—we don’t’ ask the agency anything. So, it just depends on what the company wants. Sometimes, a company can’t take us yet.   She added, laughing under her breath, “And it’s very stressing, trust me.” She misses her son, but on top of that her mother (her son’s primary caretaker) is ill. If she is—if something happens right now, and I have to go home, I wouldn’t want that to jeopardize my chance. If for instance I want to apply for residency or I want to apply for, you know, other programs to stay in Canada. I don’t want that to jeopardize me because [the employer is] saying that I quit my job because I go home because of my family emergency.    The future is something she avoids thinking about, something that presents more uncertainty and anxiety than hope. In many ways, Nancy is “in the middle” of this migration story in Canada, but feels stuck there, haunted by unforeseeable futures.  3  I also spoke briefly with Nancy’s roommate, Amina, who is haunted by debt. Also a temporary migrant, she works at the same fast-food joint. Her journey took her from Central Asia to Eastern Europe to the United Arab Emirates before eventually coming to Canada:  I wanted to go somewhere really, really like, not much cars, not the building high, a kind of peaceful place to work. … I saw the pictures on [Canada], and [the recruiter] asked me, “Do you—did you want to go to this city?” And I said, “Yes, I will go.”  She borrowed heavily to pay a series of recruiting agents spanning continents. I asked Amina about the continued relationship she has with the recruiter who assisted in her migration to Canada and she responded, “Well, of course I paid—like, agencies, of course, they don’t work for free. They are always charging for us … You know, we [migrants] paid the money and they got their pay for the airplane. (pause) And I don’t want to say how much is it.” She grew more reticent at this point; her breathing and demeanor shifted. I sensed the relationship with the recruiter was longer-term and more involved than just a one-off payment, ostensibly to cover airfare.  Like many others, Nancy and Amina were routed to Canada by recruiters, agents who facilitate the crossing of international borders—border-crossings that offer some economic hope and relief, and perhaps the dream of something more permanent. Amina told me her dream is to stay in Canada and to send for her extended family, currently supported entirely by the remittances she sends home. She told me that back in the United Arab Emirates the recruiter had promised her Canadian permanent residency, though she now feels less certain it is a possibility. She asked me, was it still possible? Wasn’t there a program for restaurant workers? Perhaps if she had arrived in Manitoba instead—she had heard rumours it was easier there? Perhaps if she could somehow get a different kind of job (a more “skilled” one)? 4  Following our conversation, I reflected on the recruiter’s promise (and on my own application for permanent residency in Canada, which was in the midst of being processed). I knew the possibility for Amina to one day become a Canadian citizen was slim, and I found myself angry at her unnamed recruiter. Did he just not know the rules? Had he taken advantage of her reliance on his expertise, of her eagerness to work in Canada? Was he in fact, as I surmised, continuing to charge her money, to pay for “recruitment-related” fees? If so, did her employer know she was in this situation? *** Immigration has traditionally been conceived of and researched in a permanent, one-time, linear and static way—a movement across a border to settlement in a new destination. However, as Nancy and Amina’s stories show, migration pathways are often anything but linear and smooth. They can comprise movements characterized as return migration, as circular migration, as transit movements that combine to become part of larger migrations, or which are unexpectedly truncated.1 The actual geographies and temporalities of migration patterns and processes may at times be quite different from the frameworks and models used to study them. With this in mind, this dissertation aims to shift thinking about the spaces of migration and opposes seeing space as merely as a container.  I focus on recruiters, who are inherently, and particularly, in “the middle of things” in migration stories. They are intermediaries, mediating between various places and actors involved in the migration process and instrumental in initiating, shaping, and sustaining cross-border movements. My interest in recruiters began in earnest during my Master’s work, which analyzed                                                  1 There are also the instances of “migrating” without actually moving, with groups such as Chicanos in the southern United States defiantly noting, “The border crossed us!” 5  migration flows from Brazil to the United States and to Japan. I was conducting fieldwork in two smaller communities in Brazil, and while tracing local social networks involved in the initiation and promotion of these flows, I increasingly found myself sitting in the offices of travel and employment agencies. Migrant workers and their families described a veritable “migration industry” emerging in their home communities. Sometimes recruiters were celebrated figures who provided opportunities of a lifetime. Others regarded them as mere business people, another bureaucratic entity greasing the wheel of labour circulation. Still others cast them as nefarious agents; I still get chills down my spine recalling one interview, conducted over the phone to protect his identity, with a man touted as able to get anyone across the border into the United States. While I approached the information he provided with a healthy dose of skepticism, shrouded as it was by dubious claims, it reminds me of the messiness of migration, of the blurry lines between the clean, shiny travel agency office and the underground world of the human smuggler (and the slippery curtain dividing smuggling from trafficking).  While I intentionally open this dissertation with the narratives of migrant workers, the focus is not on their experiences per se; rather, it centers on the actions of the recruiters who contributed to their situations. The questions that animated my work for this project centered on recruiters: Who are these spectral figures that haunt the migration process, who seem to be largely invisible in migration accounts and yet are so integral to these movements? Where are they operating? What is the role of the recruiter as an intermediary—what is their relationship with employers? With states? What does the recruitment process look like for workers like Nancy and Amina? This dissertation provides an account and analysis of the research I engaged in to begin to answer these questions. More than viewing recruiters as an intervening factor in a 6  push–pull movement, one objective was to understand more deeply their role in facilitating and regulating border-crossing.  Theoretically and methodologically, my initial interest in recruiters as migration intermediaries came at a time when debates were pitting “from above” against “from below” approaches to studying and understanding transnationalism. The “transnational turn” problematized binaries such as source/destination country, but viewing transnational phenomena from above or below tended to foreground either the nation-state or the migrant. Other important actors, including employers and the migration industry, were overlooked entirely (e.g., Krissman 2005). There were calls to focus on “middling” transnationalism, on the ignored “meso-level” (Faist 1997; Tsuda 1999). These moves were promising, but even if they stretched across national borders and unsettled linear frameworks, they still reinforced an assumed verticality. I want to focus instead on the nodes of encounter and interaction, on the “contact zones” in the migration process (Tsing 2005; Haraway 2008; Collard 2014). I take as my starting point recruitment and migration processes, with particular interest in exercises of sovereign power that inhere in those processes. I choose recruiters as an empirical ground intentionally because they represent a point of mediation, a convergence point between various other actors—primarily the nation-state, employer, and migrant worker—in the migration process.  1.2 Migration Management and the Shift Toward Temporary Labour Flows In a context of globalization, patterns of repeated, circulatory, and temporary migration have become more common and, some argue, are replacing the “paradigm of permanent migrant settlement” (GCIM 2005; see also Castles 2006; Vertovec 2007). Observers note a trend toward temporary labour migration. Facing economic and demographic challenges, but hesitant to throw 7  open the front door to “foreign” labour, countries in the so-called global North have been shifting their immigration and citizenship policies from a macro to a micro level, adopting several programs rather than having one primary policy for admitting migrant labour (Joppke 2005; Martin 2005). These programs, among them guestworker programs, are cautionary policy openings offering a means of benefitting from and acquiring labour without granting full admission. They allow for the selection (and production) of certain types of migrant subjects.   Within a globalized landscape, workers—particularly those from the global South—are encouraged to be mobile, embodying labour flexibility through transnational employment practices (Peck et al. 2005; Martin et al. 2006). There are well-established criticisms of temporary migration—that it creates a second-class category of workers, often entails the distressing separation of families, and opens the possibility of migrant workers overstaying their visas. Even so, international bodies such as the Global Commission on Migration (GCIM 2005) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM 2005) support the notion of “managed” circular migration. They argue that opening legal channels to temporary labour migration can result in a win-win situation for sending and receiving countries: receiving countries benefit by filling short-term or sector-specific labour shortages and mitigating “illegal” migration, while sending countries potentially gain human capital and remittances for development. The contention is that, if managed properly, the benefits of such programs outweigh the costs and risks. Although Canada projects an image of itself as a settler-society, migrants increasingly arrive on a temporary basis. Canada has a long history of relying on migrant workers, but as I trace in this dissertation, that reliance has expanded and intensified in recent years. Levels of temporary migration, particularly through Canada’s Temporary Foreign Worker Program 8  (TFWP), have grown steadily. Labour shortages and unique economic conditions, the marketing of Canada as an attractive destination, and a number of provincial-level programs have contributed to the influx of temporary migrant workers.2 Within this overall shift, there has also been an expansion in both the scale and scope of streams for workers in lower- and semi-skilled occupations.3 In these streams, a migrant’s legal status in the country is often tied to their employer. The trend has contributed to a growth in contingency in the labour market, often associated with increased worker precarity (Goldring et al. 2009; Goldring and Landolt 2013; Lenard and Straehle 2011). Researchers and migrant advocates have documented a number of associated challenges, including those related to migrant workers’ social exclusion, transitional and settlement needs, and lack of access to legal rights and protections (e.g., Pratt 1997, 2012; Depatie-Pelletier 2008; Flecker 2008; Kim and Gross 2009; Nakache and Kinoshita 2010; Bucklaschuk 2015).  These temporary migration flows for lower-skilled work are predominantly employer-driven. Some have argued this represents a growing privatization of the immigration process, as employers recruit and hire workers through the TFWP and sponsor migrant workers for permanent residency (e.g., Alboim 2009; Valiani 2013). Employer involvement is accompanied by a corresponding “commercialization” of migration and proliferation of a migration industry to                                                  2 Media, the government, and some scholars often refer to individuals arriving through the TFWP as temporary foreign workers, or TFWs. I intentionally avoid using the term TFW and instead use “temporary migrant” (where I do use it I do so to specify the program entry stream). This is to de-emphasize the connotation that “foreign” carries, which can reinforce their exclusion as outsiders.  3 In Canada, occupations are classified through the National Occupational Classification (NOC) system, which organizes occupations according to skill levels and skill types. At the time of my study, this included the following categories: 0 (Managerial), A (Professionals; usually requires university education), B (Skilled and Technical Workers; usually requires college education or apprenticeship training); C (Intermediate and Clerical Workers; usually requires secondary school and/or occupation-specific training), and D (Elemental Workers and Labourers; on-the-job training is usually provided). Categories 0, A, and B are considered “skilled,” and C and D “low-skilled” (HRSDC 2006). Note that the TFWP was overhauled in 2014 and is now administered based on wage rather than NOC (Government of Canada 2017). 9  assist employers. Many employers recruiting migrant workers through the program, particularly smaller enterprises, lack in-house capacity and frequently contract out components of the recruitment and migration process to third-party recruiters/consultants. Employment agencies and immigration lawyers and consultants who act as recruiters sell a range of services, including locating and pre-screening candidates, preparing applications and paperwork, and coordinating transportation and settlement assistance. Recruiters are central figures in many contemporary migration flows. However, within migration studies there has been little research examining the role of these intermediaries or the recruitment process more generally, even as many documented complaints related to guestworker programs and “managed migration” schemes can be traced back to the unscrupulous or abusive activities of these labour brokers.4 They have been accused of charging illegal fees and providing misleading claims about jobs and access to citizenship. Challenges related to worker protection and precarity, and recognition of the immense power differentials in migration, are at the heart of my interest in recruiters and recruitment.  “Economic” migration is not just about a rational calculation that weighs potential costs and benefits associated with life in a source country versus a destination. Viewed this way, through a neoclassical economic framework, one intervening piece that unsettles the calculus is a lack of information. Recruiters, as one form of labour market intermediary (LMI), are said to be involved in labour migration in part to rectify this information gap—informing employers about potential labour pools and would-be migrant workers about employment opportunities abroad                                                  4 There are a few exceptions, which include Salt and Stein (1997), Tyner (2000), Hennebry (2008), and Rodriguez (2008). On the challenges associated with third-party recruitment, see also a number of media stories documenting TFW-related challenges associated with unscrupulous recruiters or immigration consultants (e.g., Lee-Young 2007, 2008; CBC 2009a, 2009b; Millar 2009).  10  (Benner et al. 2007; Zell 2017). However, relationships are never so neat, and misinformation and misrepresentation are rampant. Workers who depend on migration for their livelihood are by that very fact already in precarious positions vis-à-vis their employers and sometimes government actors. Third-party recruitment introduces an extra layer of dependency (and potentially vulnerability), with workers also reliant on their recruiter, who is often the first and may be the only contact and source of information throughout the migration process. Debt bondage, financial as well as emotional, often haunts the recruiter–migrant relationship. *** Early in my fieldwork, I pulled into a cul-de-sac in suburban Metro Vancouver. I double-checked the address and took note of the surroundings. I rang the doorbell, and a woman greeted me cheerfully and led me down to her office in the basement. There was a dry erase board with lists of names, dates, and file numbers, and cabinets brimming with file folders. The white carpeting looked like it had just been vacuumed. She took me on a “tour” of the office and offered me tea. Our interview lasted hours and was pleasant and informative. As I parted and said goodbye, I surprised myself at how surprised I was—so, this was a recruiter? Figure 1: A Mundane “Border Space”? 11  Fast forward a year to Mexico, and I found myself entering what looked like a regular home in an unassuming, middle-class neighbourhood, and sitting on an uncomfortable plastic chair in a makeshift waiting area. It was hidden away, and there was no signage. There was a reception desk with no one behind the counter. The entire room had an institutional and sterile feeling. Another woman, presumably also awaiting an appointment, was sitting on a chair beside me was nervously twitching her leg as she reviewed paperwork—what looked like an application form. The woman I was meeting was late, and I was calculating how much longer to wait. When she eventually arrived and led me into a small, non-descript boardroom for the interview, I realized this was where migrant applicants also waited to be interviewed by her, their performances determining whether they would gain admission to her agency’s labour pool. This was a space of the border—not the formal, territorial border, but certainly an important front-end border in a labour migration journey.  *** My work in this dissertation was interested in understanding: who are these intermediaries, and where are these border spaces, which seem invisible to the process? Early on, I decided to limit my focus to more “legitimate” recruiters. This was intentional, because I wanted to examine power relationships and challenges posed not only by unscrupulous or illegal agents, but to disclose those that are part of the legal recruitment regime. I also narrowed my focus to those recruiting for lower-skilled occupations in Canada, in particular through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program’s Stream for Lower Skilled Occupations (SLSO). I knew that in many sectors, particularly those requiring higher levels of education or specialized skills, recruiting agents are fundamental to the human resources strategy. In the information technology world, for example, headhunters abound. However, few studies analyzed the recruitment practice and role of such 12  agents within guestworker programs and at the time I began this project none had done so for the expanding SLSO. Moreover, there was growing concern about the TFWP and recruitment through the program from activists and migrant rights groups, on the one hand, and on the other, from industry association groups concerned about the responsibilities of employers contracting recruiters to hire temporary migrants.5 Embarking on this project, I intended to examine the role of recruiters in the (temporary) labour migration process to Canada. As I began to speak with recruiters, who were unexpectedly eager to participate, I noticed that many were taking on a mantle of “border agents”—they spoke of the ways they facilitated the crossing of migrants, workers who in their estimation were unlikely to get into Canada otherwise. I became increasingly interested in how their recruitment-related practices contribute to the facilitation and regulation of border-crossing. My question shifted, essentially, to the following: In a market-driven context, to what extent were recruiters free to act as “petty sovereigns,” and with what implications for the locations of bordering practices, and for migrant workers?  1.3 Structure of the Dissertation In the next chapter I provide an in-depth theoretical foundation for the dissertation, introducing the framework that guides my analysis. I situate my project within migration studies and literature on the state, and I delineate my approach and contributions to theorizations of “the border” and explain how I conceive of recruiters as “petty sovereigns.” This is followed in Chapter 3 with an account of my epistemological and methodological approach, the methods I                                                  5 As part of my preliminary work on this project, I produced a list of best practices for Canadian (employers considering hiring migrants through the TFWP (Zell 2009).  13  engaged in and the rationale for my choices. I then provide an overview of the historical and policy context for this research in Chapters 4 and 5. I contextualize the analysis in an understanding of Canada as a nation of recruited settlers, one in which policy increasingly emphasizes immigration as an economic development project. I chose the Temporary Foreign Worker Program as an empirical focus because it allowed me to consider the role of recruiters in the context of a conditional opening—a generally closed border differentially opened for (certain kinds of) labour. I trace shifts toward more market-driven and temporary migration flows, in which recruiters have a pronounced role. My overarching argument is that these recruiters are mobile bordering agents, and that through their recruitment-related practices and decisions they contribute to the facilitation and regulation of cross-border migrant flows and the (re)production of borders. The subsequent chapters of the dissertation are structured to present various figurations of recruiters, specifically private, third-party “legitimate” recruiters. I describe and analyze their role and relationships in the selection and placement of migrants in lower-skilled jobs in Western Canada. Chapter 6 analyzes how recruiters are enabled to act as petty sovereigns. I position them within the labour migration cycle and examine their role within the context of the state and its management of labour migration. I discuss the process and conditions whereby recruiters and their practices are legitimated and labeled as authorized—how and the extent to which they come to designated as “authorized” in migration management. In Chapter 7 I turn to describe the migrant selection and hiring process, and the ways in which recruiters act as discretionary deciders, constructing labour pools mediated by—and, in turn, influencing—employer and state preferences and minimum admission criteria. Recruiters act as gatekeepers at a first border, in a pre-screening moment that plays out in within a transnational sphere. Through the selection and 14  hiring process, recruiters differentiate those to be included, and in so doing shape and produce subjects. Finally, I turn in Chapter 8 to explore the stated motivations behind the actions and decisions of some recruiters, who view themselves as “vigilante nation-builders.” I show how recruiters also act with a social justice orientation and provide assistance and care to migrants. The conclusion summarizes my primary findings and contributions.  This research explores the recruitment process in contemporary labour migration and the role that third-party intermediary recruiters play in screening and producing migrant workers and enabling transnational labour mobility. Building on a burgeoning literature on the migration industry and transnational migration networks, the research is in conversation with political geography debates about the border and theories of the state. The project draws on theorizations of neoliberal governmentality and feminist approaches to embodiment to analyze the geographies of governance and new spatializations of the state that are (re)produced through the migrant labour recruitment process. I am interested in how state and non-state actors involved in the process participate in the construction and maintenance of borders and practices of gatekeeping. Recruiters make decisions about who can cross the border and under what conditions, and their border-drawing practices provide a point of entry for interrogating the increasingly transnational ways in which nation-states and labour markets are re-spatialized and regulated.     15  Chapter 2: Theoretical Framework – Petty Sovereigns and Spatializing the Border In this chapter, I introduce the foundations of my theoretical approach and review the theoretical strands that shape my interpretations and methodology, outlined in the next chapter. At the heart of this dissertation is an argument about configurations of state power—specifically, about forms and spatializations of sovereign power. Drawing on Foucault’s work and Butler’s reading of it, I use third-party recruiters, labour market intermediaries who facilitate and regulate migrant worker flows, as an entry point for thinking through how borders are performative. I posit that recruiters are “petty sovereigns,” who perform the border. Throughout subsequent chapters I explore how their border-drawing decisions and practices produce particular migrant subjects and border spaces.  I situate this project at the intersection of three primary fields. I begin by providing a review of recent migration research in border studies and political geography. Within migration studies, I discuss transnationalism and what it has to offer on theorizing the state, particularly in terms of state spatiality and the relationship between sovereignty and territory. I then trace recent developments in the field of border studies, arguing that borders are multiple, dispersed, and dynamic spatial productions. Borders are a logical point of entry for examining sovereign power, as they allow for visualizing the spatializations of state territory. I bring transnational migration and border studies together with a (neoliberal) governmentality orientation. Finally, I draw on performativity studies to discuss how the border, and bordering practices, are performative in that they are at the same time produced and productive of certain subjects and spaces. Building out of these three strands of literature, I then describe an analytic approach to examining 16  recruiters—as “petty sovereigns.” I conclude with a discussion of how the border as an analytic frame is well-suited to examinations of sovereignty. Borders are instantiations of sovereign power, and I adopt a governmentality-oriented analytical framework that mobilizes a bordering concept to identify and locate the where, who, and how of borderwork.   2.1  Transnationalism and Spatializing the State 2.1.1 Transnationalism in Migration Studies In the context of intensified patterns of globalization in the 1990s, a particularly neoliberal rhetoric welcomed the arrival of a “borderless” world. New theoretical approaches and interdisciplinary views on borders focused on flows and mobility, post-nationalism, and de/reterritorialization and called into question the previously assumed fixity of borders as linear and aligned with the boundaries of nation-states (Balibar 2002; Paasi 1998; Newman 2006). A corresponding emphasis on hybridity, transnationalism, and cosmopolitanism challenged thinking about the boundaries of identities, cultures, and nations. Within migration studies, the “transnational turn” opened new ways of thinking about mobility and border-crossings.  Transnationalism—introduced as an analytic framework for understanding migration and cross-border networks (Glick Schiller et al. 1992)—has been celebrated by many as an approach that strategically contests the hegemonic conditions nation-states impose on their populations. Viewing migration as a social process, early conceptualizations of transnational migration privileged both the mobility associated with “transnational migrant circuits” (e.g., Rouse 1991; Appadurai 1996) and the agency of migrants to actively shape the migration process, even in the face of restrictive policies. A transnational approach liberated nations, people, and cultures from being fixed in location (and thus positioned as objects of knowledge and management) and 17  essentialized through a “sedentary metaphysics” that normalized the conflation of people with place, and of culture with nation (Malkki 1992; Cresswell 1997; Gupta and Ferguson 2001). Forging and maintaining transnational connections (though arguably not a new phenomenon6) was seen as a way for migrants to transcend national borders. Hybridity, ‘bifocality,’ and middling, third, liminal, or ‘between’ spaces—for example, the powerful and optimistic “mestizaje” of Gloria Anzaldúa (1987)—were celebrated as spaces where migrants could escape repressive or essentialist categories and classifications (Rouse 1991; Glick Schiller et al. 1992; Bhabha 1994). The approach also offered scholars the potential to escape a methodological nationalism that constrains analysis by containing it within static conceptions of geographical entities such as the nation-state (Glick Schiller 2005).  While rightly drawing attention to the emancipatory potentialities in global connections and cross-border movements, early work was criticized for an overemphasis on and celebration of migrant agency, mobility, and “uprootedness.” Some scholars noted that a defining feature of contemporary transnational arrangements is in fact the development of a global migrant “underclass” or “survival circuits,” as people are dislocated and pushed to adopt transnational lifestyles (Levitt and Jaworsky 2007; Sassen 2006). Geopolitical crises and (neoliberal) economic restructuring have produced a more flexible and vulnerable migrant labour force. At the same time, many destination countries have ramped up restrictions on immigration and                                                  6 Critics pointed to the historical continuity of migrant transnationalism, calling for an approach that emphasizes the groundedness of transnational practices as embedded in particular historical, geographical, and geopolitical contexts (Foner 2005; Waldinger and Fitzgerald 2004; Mitchell 1997).  18  imposed barriers to integration. For many, transnationalism becomes one strategic form of flexibility to mitigate economic and political insecurity (Van Hear 1998; Sassen 2006).7  Furthermore, an overemphasis on agency led some scholars and policymakers to assume that migration is largely conditioned by labour ‘supply-side’ dynamics, which entails a problematic attendant shift of moral and legal responsibility from a First World “us” to a Third World “them” (Krissman 2005; Sassen 1998).8 Early work was criticized for tuning out the myriad ways transnational flows were still governed, regulated, and conditioned by uneven fields of power (including sovereign power asserted by the state). Research overlooked how “the strategic self-fashioning in liminal and partial sites can be used for the purposes of capital accumulation quite as effectively as for the purposes of intervention in hegemonic narratives of race and nation” (Bhabha 1994, 109; Wright 1998).9  In addition, a troubling consequence of overly emphasizing agency “from below” and focusing on global mobility is an erasure of (trans)national politics—and of the nation-state itself (Baubock 2003). In early accounts of globalization and transnationalism, the state was thought to be under threat of disappearing, its sovereignty under attack by the increasing intensity of economic, socio-cultural, and political global connections stretching across international borders. These globalizing narratives led Appadurai (1996), for example, to assert boldly that “the nation-state, as a complex modern political form, is on its last legs” (19). Globalization notwithstanding,                                                  7 Critics also pointed out that abstract “third spaces” or “border zones” between or transcending nation-states were often treated as if they were the only spaces of resistance left. 8 This only serves to rationalize and reinforce reactive immigration policies and border controls implemented by states to “manage” migration, without taking a wider view and, indeed, responsibility for the role Western countries (through, e.g., trade, agriculture, or security interventions) play in producing and reproducing those very population flows they seek to manage (Walters 2004).  9 Indeed, the global economic narrative itself celebrated “the transcendence of the state and its annoying regulatory structures before the dominant command and control functions of corporate head offices” (Ley 2004, 153). 19  states and state politics continue to shape the options for migrant transnational social action. There were calls to “bring the state back in,” and for viewing transnational practices as embedded in particular historical, geographical, and geopolitical contexts (Hollifield 2007; Waldinger and Fitzgerald 2004; Baubock 2003; Mitchell 1997; Foner 2005; Ley 2004; Glick Schiller 2005). To adopt a transnational frame that escapes methodological nationalism and locates transnational mobility beyond national territorial borders, research should focus on emerging forms of power (Glick Schiller 2005; Anderson 2000; Baubock 2003).10 Doing so avoids the host/home binary, without abstracting either the sending or receiving context, and entails a historically and geographically grounded approach.  2.1.2 Rethinking the State Transnationalism opened up thinking about mobility across borders, but even as it focused on flows, much research continued to hold to narratives of states as de facto containers and to static and fixed conceptions of borders. Critics pointed out that borders and states must not be taken as given nor seen as spatially discrete but as constituted through relationship (Agnew 2008).11 Rather than conceiving of the state in idealist terms, in which the boundary between the state and society are often difficult to determine, Mitchell (1991) offers an alternative approach. Drawing on Foucault’s view of power, he takes the elusiveness of the state as the clue to its very nature. Because power cannot be grasped and is productive in nature, it is therefore not a capacity the                                                  10 This research project intends in part to address her question, “How do we study and document a Foucauldian governmentality on global terrains so that we can understand how consent to imperialism becomes part of the everyday practices and understanding of those who suffer the consequences?” (Glick Schiller 2005). 11 Much of the literature on transnational migration at the time still tended to view migrants and states both (not to mention employers, labour recruiters, and other actors often overlooked; Krissman 2005) as agents that create and sustain transnational multi-stranded links, often without much consideration of the relations and interactions between them. 20  state can ‘store’ centrally. Thus, “the apparent boundary of the state does not mark the limit of the processes of regulation… It is itself a product of those processes” (90). In this way Mitchell deconstructs the state, conceiving of it not as a unified and coherent actor, but as an “effect.” It is an effect produced, for example, by the partitioning of space, disposition of bodies, and arrangement of territorial elements. As Foucault (1991) asserted: “the state, not more probably today than at any other time in its history, does not have this unity, this individuality, this rigorous functionality, nor, to speak frankly, this importance” (103). This points to Foucault’s ‘beheading of the king’—the state could no longer be seen as a sovereign entity, but as a composite effect of power relations. The interesting question becomes “how the headless body often behaves as if it indeed had a head” (Dean 1994 cf Lemke 2001, 52). The effect of the king’s head—of a centralized or core structural essence to the state—is the structural effect to which Mitchell (1991) refers; the effect of coherence and structure remains (and can be reinforced or challenged through certain practices).  Bourdieu (1999) suggests that to really think a state is to question the presuppositions in the very thought of the analyst. He examines the genesis of the state (though a France-centric one), which appears to take on a structure through the institutionalization and bureaucratization of its practices that work to unify its territory, through the assertion of physical force and the construction of economic space. Agents of the state produce a performative discourse which, “under the guise of saying what the state is, caused the state to come into being by stating what it should be” (72). Painter (2006) also traces the emergence of a reified “state effect,” produced through performative practices. He employs an approach based in prosaics to disrupt the unity of the state. Maintaining that the state is constructed through the cumulative effect of the repetitions of mundane actions, he explores the “statization” of society in the United Kingdom (UK). 21  Similarly, as part of an institutional ethnography of the state, Mountz (2004) is able to convey the fluid and everyday dimensions of the state as it worked through practices of embodiment to reinforce its apparent coherency in the face of the border-crossing threat of migrant bodies. Her work suggests a state that is “more personal and less powerful” than it appears (338).  As Mitchell’s term suggests, the state as idea still has effect. In fact, he rejects seeing the state as an ideological construct, because it may lead to the dismissal of the state as a field of study. Reified understandings should be taken seriously, as they are persistent (Bourdieu 1999; Painter 2006). Suggesting that the state is an idea or effect does not mean it should be disregarded, as it continues to have a significant political reality. The spatialization of this effect is one which Ferguson and Gupta (2002) term “vertical encompassment.” The location of the state as somehow “above” society is constructed through a vertical hierarchy of power relations, which are assumed to encompass the totality of a given territory. Through an ethnographic analysis of state power in India, they illustrate how the state’s territory and architecture of dominance are (re)produced through bureaucratic practices and techniques wherein certain populations are fixed in place and made “local” through surveillance and regulation, while others are in positions of greater spatial mobility. Establishing a territorial boundary through the exercise of control over the movement across and within it, state practices come to define a national entity. The accumulation of mundane arrangements constitutes the state as a “structure” that contains and gives order to people’s lives. Rather than viewing the state as a freestanding entity that can be taken as a definable unit of analysis, they argue, it is more helpful to examine the exercise of its power over a given territory.   22  2.1.3 State Sovereignty as Delinked from Territory Scholars studying transnationalism in the 1990s began to note that the state was not so much disappearing as being reconfigured through globalization. Its sovereignty was shifting and mutating. In her work Ong (1999, 2006) noticed that new economic “zones” were emerging in parts of Asia, which were characterized by geographies of variegated sovereignty. “Globalization has induced a situation of graduated sovereignty,” she writes, “whereby even as the state maintains control over its territory, it… lets corporate entities set the terms for constituting and regulating some domains” (217). It is not the existence but the spatialization and nature of sovereignty that is transformed through globalization. In practice, sovereignty is manifested in multiple and often contradictory strategies with diverse and contingent outcomes (Ong 2006). Taking this fact as his point of departure, Agnew (2005) develops the concept of “sovereignty regimes” to counter the continued privileging of the Westphalian model of state sovereignty in most political geography and international relations approaches, which assume state power is exercised uniformly over the totality of its territory, neatly interrupted at the international border. This claim of absolute territorial sovereignty or encompassment is never entirely realized, particularly in an era of globalization (Ferguson and Gupta 2002; Appadurai 1996, 2003; Ong 2006; Painter 2006).   Agnew argues that state sovereignty must be situated in a geopolitical context, which accounts for the hierarchy of states as well as sources of authority other than the state. He also questions the territorial scope of most conceptions of sovereignty; globalization, he argues, presents challenges to state sovereignty as territorial. “Sovereignty—in the sense of the socially constructed practices of political authority—may be exercised . . . in networks across space with distributed nodes in places that are either hierarchically arranged or reticular (without a central or 23  directing node)” (Agnew 2005, 441). Taking a Foucauldian view of political authority means that sovereign power is not exclusively exercised by states, and “sovereignty and territoriality” can in fact “live increasingly separate lives” (Appadurai 2003, 247). Agnew recognizes the importance of delinking sovereignty and territory, soil and membership (see also Ong 2006). Foucault questioned the territorial definition of the state, declaring that “it is not a territory… it is only a people and a strong domination” (Foucault 2004 cf Elden 2007, 570). In his governmentality lectures, he suggests a shift from sovereign and disciplinary states to a modern state predominantly based in biopolitics—that the sovereign’s legitimacy over territory has become less important than the management of its population: the governmental state is “essentially defined no longer in term of its territoriality, of its surface area, but in terms of the mass of its population… and indeed also with the territory over which it is distributed” (Foucault 1991, 104). However, Elden (2007) highlights the continued importance of territory in Foucault’s account; he remarks that in spite of himself, Foucault “forces us to confront the question not of territory itself but the qualities of territory, the attributes amenable, like the characteristics of the population, to statistical analysis and calculative strategies” (32). As the “population” emerged as an object of the governmental state, so too did “territory.” Thus it becomes something more than mere land, but something understood in terms of its “qualities” or properties, and as such something that can be owned, measured and mapped, bordered and controlled.12  Indeed, recent work in political geography points to how states use the concept of territory to locate, enact, and enforce borders in strategic ways. For example, Hyndman and                                                  12 “Territory too, that seeming bedrock of each nation,” Painter (2006) declares, turns out to be “another ‘structural effect’ laboriously generated through complex uneven networks of countless mundane actions” (765). 24  Mountz (2008) illustrate how outlying islands are considered part of the territory of Australia for the purposes of resource extraction, but are strategically excised out of the jurisdiction of immigration policy. As boats of migrants approach the islands, migrants landing on them can be considered never to have arrived on Australian soil. In a similar vein, the United States implemented a series of immigration policies that allow it to view undocumented migrants as never having arrived on US soil, even after they have crossed the border from Mexico and have been living in the United States (Coleman 2007; see also Mountz’s 2010 “long tunnel thesis”). Researchers have emphasized the important qualities of particular kinds of territorial spaces, such as islands, for enrolment in state expressions of sovereign power (Loyd and Mountz 2014; Dodds 2012; Hyndman and Mountz 2008). Through interactions with global markets and regulatory institutions, Ong (2006) notes: Sovereign rule invokes the exception to create new economic possibilities, spaces, and techniques for governing the population. The neoliberal exception allows for a measure of sovereign flexibility in ways that both fragment and extend the space of the nation-state. (7)  States use their borders or territorial edges strategically, to expand power, mitigate tensions provoked by dual concerns for economic and national security, and in some cases to withdraw responsibility. My purpose with this dissertation is to think about the spatialities of states—and exercises of state power—and their bordering practices. My objective is to examine expressions and spatializations of sovereign power through an analysis of recruiters and their practices. I am interested in these practices because they reveal where and how the borders of the state are located and enacted. I now turn to review the concept of the border. Sidestepping both the “territorial trap” (Agnew 1994) and methodological nationalism (Wimmer and Glick Schiller 25  2003), I take a relational approach to bordering processes, focusing on emergent forms and instantiations of sovereign power, specifically in the migrant labour recruitment process.  2.2 Border Studies and Border Friction There have been shifts in the consolidation of “border studies” as a field of study in recent decades, in part because borders are taking on new forms in relation to contemporary mobility regimes, including migration management. Debates about borders increasingly conceived of them as socially constructed and historically contingent processes, sets of symbols or discourses, institutions, or networked assemblages1—as “dispersed sets of power relations that are mobilized for various purposes” (Paasi 2012, 2304; Newman 2006; Walters 2002, 2006; Amoore 2006; Sparke 2006). This has challenged strictly territorial approaches and promoted alternative spatial imaginaries (Walters 2004). A resurgence of border studies work within and beyond political geography from the 1990s onward focused less on borders as sites understood traditionally as lines on a map. Research increasingly viewed the border as a “regime” of differentiated “zones” (Tsianos et al. 2009; Ong 2006), and borders were seen as manifestations of social, cultural, and political processes rather than unitary, fixed lines anchored by nation-states (Paasi 1998, 2005, 2012; for review see, e.g., Parker et al. 2009; Newman 2006). With this in mind, I present a brief review of emerging debates and recent theorizations of borders within border studies. Primarily drawing on literatures in political geography and migration studies, I describe how my work intersects with and builds out of these discussions, putting forward the conceptual framing that underpins my approach.  26  2.2.1 Evolution of the Concept of the Border There was a paragraph of text that animated my thinking as I began my doctoral work, and which in many ways bridged my interest in migration studies and transnationalism with currents in political geography and governmentality studies. In the final lines of Alison Mountz’s (2004) article about conceiving the nation-state at the scale of the body, she interrogates the Canadian state’s everyday, bureaucratic response to human smuggling as a way of at once unsettling and locating the state and also disrupting and displacing the border. She writes:  It is important to think about the location of borders… They lie somewhere on the water beyond territorial limits… They are enacted in the temporary tribunals of prisons in Prince George and in the detached detention centers of Woomera in the remote outback of Australia. The border is indeed a site of identity construction, but those ‘sites’ are neither unitary nor linear. For the undocumented, the displaced, and the stateless, for people of color with tenuous legal status, the border is everywhere. (342)13  There are two moves Mountz makes here that are important for the way I am conceiving of borders in my project. The first is viewing borders as dispersed and produced—“never mere lines on a map,” she writes, “borders, like states, are geographically dispersed spatial productions” (2004, 342). Second, she argues that the operations of borders—of bordering—can be revealed in particularly telling ways at the scale of the body. That is, she points out that bordering is an embodied process and results from biopolitical encounters. These two considerations are integral to my understanding of bordering and recruiters as bordering agents. In contrast to more traditional conceptions of the border as a physical line, theorizing and research on borders has grown increasingly relational, viewing them as spatial productions in their own right. Conceived in this way, borders are multiple and dispersed—there is never                                                  13 While the notion of the border as everywhere is overstated (even as it can “feel” everywhere, especially for particular subjects, which she underscores in this passage), an opening up of “the border” as a contained geographical feature allows for an examination of the processes that constitute the border as such, and of the operations of power that contribute to this affective response. 27  merely one “border” a migrant must cross. Much of this work builds out of Balibar’s (2002) consideration of borders as polysemic and heterogenous; they “never exist in the same way for individuals belonging to different social groups” (78–9). Borders are not a mere “jacket of territory” but are composed of “multiple knots” in a complex weaving (Amilhat-Szary and Giraut 2015, 9). Recognizing their multiplicity and dispersal, studies turned to focus on how borders are experienced in myriad sites, and on exercises of state sovereignty in spaces removed from the physical line of state territory (see reviews in Johnson et al. 2011; Jones et al. 2017). Rather than taking “the border” as the primary subject, research in border studies, particularly those adopting a Foucauldian-inspired approach, turned instead to foreground the processes and practices of bordering (Newman 2003). Viewing borders this way expands not only the ontological understanding of borders, but also the epistemological possibilities of border studies. Recent reviews document a multiplication of bordering sites, as they have expanded and grown more dispersed. Bordering occurs in a proliferation of sites, many far from the territorial line of the border itself. These include airports and ports of entry (Salter 2008a; Sparke 2006; Mountz 2011b), detention centres (Hiemstra and Conlon 2017; Martin 2015; Mountz 2010), churches (Ehrkamp and Nagel 2017), cyberspace (Popescu 2017), and spaces inscribed on the border-crossing body (Amoore 2006; Mountz 2004; Popescu 2015). Work focused on the expanding securitization of borders explores a series of “new locations” in the form of corridors, camps, and spaces of confinement that are emerging as key sites for understanding contemporary exercises of sovereignty (Jones and Johnson 2017). Mountz (2011a) uses the example of a US legal provision designating any location within 100 miles of the border as a port of entry to highlight that local officials, and not just federal agents, are engaged in bordering. Corresponding to the mobility of those officials, 28  border patrolling and enforcement occurs in unconventional and unexpected places as local and intimate as Laundromats or bus stations. These spaces and sites are not just at the territorial edge but also beyond and within a nation-state. With respect to the bordering practices of nation-states and spatializations of state power, I briefly describe three geographical paradigms that have emerged as prominent in political geography and migration studies literature.  The first is the externalization of bordering—wherein bordering practices are increasingly occurring outside or offshore, and often well beyond, the intended destination state territory. The tendency through policy and practice of externalizing the border occurs particularly among states or statelike entities positioned in the global North. In her work on refugee flows, Hyndman (2000) examines two kinds of border crossings, demonstrating how refugees are “contained” in UN camps in Africa while flows of financial humanitarian assistance (international capital) move more freely14—the containment of bodies occurs in a space marked as external to the Canadian nation-state (at a “safe” distance, literally more than an ocean away). The border is located at a distance, in a space external to the legal, jurisdictional realm of the intended destination state. A similar move occurs between the European Union and Africa, creating what has been referred to as “Fortress Europe” (e.g., Castles and Van Hear 2005; Vives 2012; Walters 2006; Tsianos et al. 2009). This can render extra-territorial bordering as largely invisible; borders may be enacted in one place but projected elsewhere, for example when passport controls in Paris, France dictate what happens to border-crossers on the Eurostar (Walters 2004). In the suprastate European Union much work has analyzed how migration and border policies have produced a “hardening” or “thickening” of external, regional boundaries,                                                  14 This is in contrast to the mobile elite discussed in Ong (1999, 2006). 29  with an associated “softening” of internal borders, through operations such as Frontex (Feldman 2012). In the North American context there has been work characterizing the territorial line of the US–Mexico border as “hard” compared to the “soft,” often everyday borders experienced by those living with unauthorized status within the United States (Coleman 2009; Coutin 2003; Sundberg 2013).  Similarly, Mountz (2010) analyzes how state practices change the relationship between geography and law as the location of borders and their crossings are negotiated. Not only are borders increasingly drawn in spaces external to the state, but drawing on Agamben’s “spaces of exception” she shows that spaces traditionally within the territorial state are in fact being strategically redrawn and even excised. The state is withdrawing, in some senses, to create “stateless spaces in extra-territorial locales” in which the benefits associated with citizenship are no longer applicable (Hyndman and Mountz 2008; see also Pratt 2005; Agamben 1998; Bosniak 2006; Coutin 2003). Focusing on the offshoring of migrant detention and processing led Mountz to examine more comprehensively the use of islands as strategic zones for containment and mobility control (2010; Loyd and Mountz 2014). Borders have in a sense “migrated offshore,” for example as the state of Australia detains and processes asylum seekers trying to reach its shores by boat on nearby foreign territories (Mountz 2010; Brown 2010; Watkins 2017).  Mountz’s work points to offshore detention facilities that are on islands and sites of interdiction abroad, but it also highlights a second spatialization of bordering—that of internalization. She draws attention to remote detention centres located within sovereign territory, and stateless zones in airports, for example. Others have pointed to internalized surveillance. Beyond policing interior checkpoints, there is policing of potential “enemies within” through the monitoring of clandestine immigration and even cultural and religious 30  influences (Heyman 2001; Bigo 2000; Coleman 2009). Borders occupy a multiplicity of sites within sovereign territory; they “seep into the city and the neighborhood in addition to existing at the edges of a polity” (Amoore et al. 2008).  From the perspective of states seeking to secure their territory by managing cross-border flows, monitoring the movement of individual bodies, as mobile and individual entities, allows for constant and accurate control on a small spatial scale (Popescu 2015). This points to a third spatialization within border studies—that of rescaling. Varsanyi (2008) examines how the devolution of immigration policing to local levels in the United States has resulted in the rescaling of legal personhood, transforming the relationship between the state and those residing within its territory. Similarly, Laurie et al. (2015) describe how women in Nepal leaving trafficking situations and “re-integrating” into their home societies must navigate stigma and marginalization. Negotiating with bureaucrats in their claims for citizenship, these women co-produce the border with state actors at the local/district scale. Examining their border-crossing biographies, the authors note the importance of locating actors within scalar political relations that can be highly gendered. The study by Laurie et al. (2015) also inserts an important temporal dimension to the rescaling of borders. Previous border-crossing experiences haunt the current actions, decisions, and options for the migrant women in their study. This is a key point that animates my conception of bordering, as borders are not only spatially but also temporally stretched (or contracted). As I will discuss in this dissertation, the externalization of recruitment processes—as they are outsourced and offshored—is associated with an attendant externalization of “front-end” processes, many of which are carried out well before the migration movement itself, but which continue to haunt it.  31  The primary point I want to emphasize here with regard to jumping scale is that it includes rescaling to the level of the body. In her work examining the embodied, everyday experiences of those enacting the state and those moving through the refugee determination process, Mountz (2004) reads the state through embodiment. Her analysis “jumps scale” by shifting analysis of the nation-state from the national and global scales to that of the body. Her work contributes to a feminist intervention in literature on geopolitics (e.g., Hyndman 2012); she argues that “embodying the nation-state” reveals processes, relations, and experiences related to the regulation and surveillance of migrants.  Scholarship has demonstrated how borders are effectively carried with certain subjects. At an intimate scale, bodies become sites on which borders can be inscribed and embedded (Paasi 2012; Amoore 2006). In her conception of the border as embodied, Mountz (2010) envisions the border as body; the body becomes a site where enforcement authorities encounter and reconstitute the border. She reads the state through the panoptic gaze of civil servants, who enact bordering through (often mundane, bureaucratic) enforcement activities. Analyzing Canada’s deployment of a “multiple borders strategy” of offshore policing, she shows how “the border moves, only to be reconstituted around the bodies of refugee claimants.” Authorities in that study were intercepting and holding migrants in spaces designated as external to Canadian soil. The dynamic threshold to Canada was created through strategic enforcement and detention of migrants in peripheral zones, external to or at the margins of state territory. Migrant subjects can also evoke and embody the border well within nation-state territory, as they are subjected to racialized internal surveillance, including self-surveillance (Coleman 2009; Varsanyi et al. 2012).  32  Bodies become key sites within biometric management regimes. Amoore (2006) proposes the concept of the biometric border, which is a managerial, scientific, technical border that is portable. It produces migrant and traveler bodies as “sites of multiple encoded boundaries”—allowing mobile bodies, in a sense, to carry the border with them, inscribed with boundaries of access. In the case of those struggling to migrate to Australia who land on excised territory, Hyndman and Mountz (2008) find that they carry that excision with them. Even when flown in to mainland Australia for medical attention, the border moves with them “like a bubble around their bodies” (260). Through their accumulated history of mobility, bodies are marked and correspondingly bordered.  Not only is the border carried in and on (and produced through) the bodies of migrants, it is also carried (and carried out) by the agents engaged in bordering processes. A growing range of actors has been enrolled in bordering, among them agents of the state, such as visa officers or border guards, but also municipal or other local-level government agencies or bureaucrats (Varsanyi et al. 2012; Casas-Cortes et al. 2015; Carte 2017). Bordering is no longer (nor has it ever been) exclusively the domain of the state; non-state actors are increasingly engaged in bordering (Rumford 2006, 2008; Johnson and Jones 2011). These include contracted security personnel, travel agents and transportation companies, programmers who write code for biometric and surveillance systems, NGO and aid organizations, and even advertising companies, to name a few (e.g., Walters 2008; Amoore and de Goede 2008; Amoore 2006; Bonditti 2004; Pallister-Wilkins 2017; Watkins 2017; Johnson et al. 2011). The devolution and outsourcing of bordering means that a host of dispersed and unconventional actors are performing and mobilizing borders in the production and ordering of spaces—on behalf of, or in 33  spite or defiance of, state interests. These agents perform the border—they too are sites of relational encounter that produce and reconstitute the border. This review discerns some key trends in border theorization. I identify three key geographical paradigms for understanding contemporary nation-state borders and bordering practices: externalization, internalization, and rescaling (especially to the scale of the local and the body). All three involve spatial stretching—an outwards, inwards, and/or scalar extension or expansion of bordering practices or functions. Borders are seen as products or sets of processes that are constituted through relationships or encounters. As bordering operations become increasingly technological, networked, privatized, and detached from what were formerly regarded as state territorial borders, scholars have come to understand the border in terms of movement rather than stasis, seeing them as mobile and provisional (Paasi 2012; Mountz 2011c; Hiemstra and Conlon 2017). One important implication of viewing borders this way is that the territorial limits of states frequently do not align with their jurisdictional reach (a process Vaughan-Williams 2009 refers to as “generalizing”), a key point for framing my analysis of recruiters as mobile bordering agents.  2.2.2 Border Friction and Bordering through an Ontology of Differential Inclusion Before moving from this discussion into the conception of bordering that I employ in this study, I want to point out three critiques, or caveats, related to this body of work. First, the multiplication of borders has prompted a shift from fixity to multi-location (Balibar 2009; Vaughan-Williams 2008; Amilhat-Szary and Giraut 2015; Mezzadra and Nielson 2013). Studies focusing on the technologization of borders that trace connections between the mobility of bordering actors or actants, for example, emphasize their portativity (e.g., examining how mobile 34  devices such as cell phones and drones are deployed in border-producing activities; Amoore 2009; Popescu 2015). Seeing borders as mobile and detaching them from their traditional, apparently linear topography and symbolic power has led to assumptions that they may be everywhere. This shift in optics has been criticized for a tendency to overemphasize the ubiquity of borders and for obscuring the continued and important material effects of traditional border sites. It has met with calls for approaches grounded in history (O’Dowd 2010) and that refocus empirically on “the border” that is the line at the nation-state’s territorial edge—on the persistence of the border as “fence” or “wall” (e.g., Brown 2010).  Echoing others, I maintain that interventions noting the multiplicity, dispersal, and mobility of borders over the past decade have sought to denaturalize, but not to dematerialize, the border. Unsettling the state and its border—and exposing the assemblage of practices that constitute it—is important, and it can be done while attentively avoiding the evacuation of their materiality (Lemke 2001, 61). Emergent forms of bordering may occur in less conventional sites, and not exclusively as disciplinary techniques that seek to control the line at the edge of territory, but they still occur at “material locations.” Furthermore, ubiquitous border concepts suggest a coherent state power, when in fact empirical studies reveal that bordering and its forms, agents, sites, practices, and targets are much more fragmented, provisional, and messy, guided often by contingencies rather than grand schemes (Burridge et al. 2017; Mountz 2010; Gill 2009). Border control systems are rife with contradictions and inconsistences, and even as “border control is now done at many new sites and by many new people… these new borders are not designed to ensnare everyone, everywhere” (Jones and Johnson 2014, 3). Borders are highly selective and powerful tools of differentiation. If they are taken to exist everywhere, it can imply an omniscient and omnipotent state. This is not to deny that the border as a lived experience can feel 35  everywhere—it can feel suffocating, and so state power can feel overwhelming, like it is exercised uniformly and everywhere (Burridge et al. 2017; Vaughan-Williams 2009; Carte 2017). Depicting the state and its power this way, however, obscures possibilities for contestation and overlooks instances of migrant activism (Gibson-Graham 2008; Belcher et al. 2015).  Viewing the border as a dispersed spatial production presents epistemological challenges (Newman 2003; Amilhat-Szary and Giraut 2015). Borders are performed at and by increasingly unconventional and complex sites and agents, but are grounded in particular places and sedimented in historically contingent practices. As such, many have advocated careful and grounded empirical and ethnographic work examining particular border spatialities and functions. This kind of work attends to the material effects of borders but refutes the notion that they are ubiquitous. For this reason, this project adopts an in-depth, grounded qualitative approach (described in the next chapter).  A second critique concerning recent approaches to research on bordering is that much work is still anchored to the nation-state form. The three geographical paradigms I describe here—externalization, internalization, and rescaling—are spatializations that take as their referent the territorial nation-state. To expand beyond this framing, Rumford (2011) invokes Scott’s “seeing like a state” and proposes instead “seeing like a border.” This allows for a disaggregation of the state and the border to conceptualize the multiple actors and sites of what he calls “borderwork.” It also moves beyond traditional territorial notions of scale; in fact, such an approach would offer an opportunity to show how scale itself is produced (see Marston 2000). Rumford uses the example of the designation of origin status of pork pies and cheese, illustrating how these designations create bounded regions for branded products. The idea of “seeing like a 36  border” detaches bordering from the state, but this does not evacuate an interest in the state. Rather, the approach can be used to consider how both state and non-state actors and boundaries are (re)producing and regulating spaces (and not just territorial or jurisdictional spaces). Taking respatializations and rescaling of bordering processes seriously means that bordering needs to be studied as a process in its own right, and not necessarily anchored in container, unitary, or coherent understandings of states or territory. Viewed this way, bordering is seen as a strategic tool available to state as well as non-state actors. In a sense, I see “like a border” in this project, positioning recruiters as bordering agents and as my empirical point of entry. However, this project is very much an examination of state spatializations, And, of course, nation-state borders (not to mention traditional border sites such as ports of entry and walls) continue to matter in remarkably significant ways. The caveat is one in line with the arguments of those who caution against methodological nationalism (or statism) or a territorial “trap” that apprehends the empirical and theoretical in (a priori) territorial terms (Agnew 2008). In this project my objective is to think about how bordering practices and exercises of sovereign power through and at border sites contribute to reinforcing the understanding of the border and state as visible and coherent, and the attendant possibilities for rewriting those borders and disrupting that apparent seamlessness. With a focus on exercises of power, and an intentional liberation of borders from territorial states, this kind of work may highlight spaces of critical intervention that might otherwise remain hidden (Amilhat-Szary and Giraut 2015; Belcher et al. 2015). Finally, a third trend to acknowledge in recent border studies literature is an emphasis on border control and enforcement, as part of a larger migration securitization nexus. This is related largely to the state’s role in governing migration—where the state must hold in tension the 37  objectives both of protection (and self-preservation), securing its territory and population, and also of economic liberalism, promoting the circulation of goods and capital.15 Governmentality-inspired research in migration studies, a more recent but fast growing and productive area, has analyzed the transformation of the governmentalized state with respect to migration flows.16 Migration studies scholars have traced how the aim has shifted from government to governance, from the absolute control of flows at territorial borders to their management.17 In the context of economic globalization, Walters (2004) notes a shift from governance of the state as a household to approaching it as a home—what he terms “domopolitics” (e.g., “homeland security”). Out of fears about “losing control” over territorial boundaries through economic globalization, migration is increasingly rationalized as a security problem—viewed as a threat to domestic order that calls for careful management (Sassen 2008; Gilbert 2007). As Sassen (2008) argues, the state asserts a form of sovereign control over migrant subjects. This is well documented in empirical research and is carried out through practices such as surveillance and biometric screening (Amoore 2006; Bigo 2002; Popescu 2017) and such as interdiction, detention, and deportation which, taken together, point to the rise of a migration securitization complex.  At the same time migration flows are viewed as a threat, however, the (neo)liberal state views migration, and particularly transnational labour mobility, as a requisite part of economic security. The discourse on the state’s role regarding globalization is a now familiar one: where the “preeminent task of government is to attract and channel flows of resources, whether                                                  15 In the context of (neo)liberal governmentality, the logics of security and freedom confront one another (Bigo 2002). This leads to a tension wherein the state aims to address simultaneously its liberal economic goal of facilitating cross-border movements in a globalized world, and its security goal of protecting its territory. 16 See review in Walters (2015). 17 To govern a state involves surveillance and control, as the head (father) of a household; it is about the right “disposition” or arrangement of things, through deployment of techniques of management, to lead to an end, the ultimate end being the welfare of the population. 38  investment, goods, services, and now flows of (the right kind of) people into one’s territory” (Walters 2004, 244, emphasis added). The governance of the state is reimagined to be like running a business, according to a market logic that drives particular goverance moves, including devolution and privatization (Bigo 2002; Hiemstra and Conlon 2017).  As states design systems of security that are compatible with government conducted in a mobile world, they engage in innovative bordering efforts to regulate the transnational movement of people. The dispersion of borders is not just the result of expanding surveillance systems, but is “the practical end of reconciling territorial security with economic liberalism” (Walters 2004). In a security context, the “management” of migration is aimed at preventing undesirable flows (the arrival of unwanted people), through bordering practices that classify and divide. Migration management is just as much about ensuring and promoting the mobility of those who can be “trusted” not to be risks (Walters 2004; Bigo 2000; Sparke 2006; Ong 2006; Popescu 2017). Borderwork is not just about halting, prohibiting, or delimiting but “conducted in and through movement itself,” in a space of security that must “allow circulations to take place, sifting the good and the bad, ensuring that things are always in movement” (Amoore in Johnson et al. 2011, 64–5). The end is not to impede mobility, but to tame it, to regulate it.  Borders emerge at what Coleman (2007) refers to as an incoherent, contradictory “security/economy nexus,” in which statecraft is both a legal-military and market access project (see also Sparke 2006). Borders act as both barrier and bridge, prohibitive and facilitative. They are like doors that are closed and opened at once—they are opened selectively, conditionally, differentially. A governmentality-inspired approach to studying migration flows and borders is one that moves beyond this binary of exclusion/inclusion, recognizing that the two are contained within the same impulse.  39  However, while many studies adopting a governmentality orientation recognize this dual nature of bordering, most recent research in border studies emphasizes how states are securitizing and militarizing their borders (e.g., Jones and Johnson 2016; Gilbert 2012). The rich collection of reflections on state sovereignty at the border edited by Jones and Johnson (2017, 1), for example, is aimed at considering “how scholars should interpret the global expansion of security infrastructure ranging from new walls to the deployment of drones and military hardware to monitor and secure space.” This is remarkably important work, and many such studies analyze bordering as instantiations of power, showing how borders produce mobility and immobility (security and insecurity, exclusion and inclusion) at once. Collectively, though, critical political geography and migration studies that take borders as the empirical focus overwhelmingly emphasize instances of deterrence, interdiction, confinement and detention, etc.—the exclusionary and “enforcement” side of border control that primarily foregrounds the inhibition of flows. They trace and map the shifting geographies of enforcement, from offshore detention centres to interior checkpoints. Though there are of course exceptions, fewer studies focus on border management explicitly in terms of facilitation.  Practices and policies related to bordering, though, have as much to do with facilitating flows as with stopping or slowing them down. In this project, I view migration policies and border agents as a kind of border friction. I find the metaphor of friction useful because it is not just about deceleration. As Tsing (2005) incisively points out, friction is also required to keep things moving. Motion—including movements across borders—proceeds out of unequal, unstable, and contingent encounters. I argue that recruiters, as border agents, are a kind of friction, like roads: “they create pathways that make motion easier and more efficient, but in doing so they limit where we go” (6). Moreover, following Tsing’s metaphor, how we run 40  depends on what kind of shoes we have on. How and under what conditions migrants move through bordering processes depends on the metaphorical “shoes” they have on. This project explores migration recruitment policies and actors that promote mobility, though under certain conditions. The analysis is not based so much in border control or an ontology of exclusion, but in one of differential inclusion, to borrow Mezzadra and Nielson’s (2013) term. Rejecting the idea that borders only separate and divide, they show how borders also connect and include (and in so doing may exert violence as well; Coleman 2007).  In the context of global (neo)liberal governmentality, the task of governing becomes disentangling legitimate flows from illegitimate or disorderly ones (such as undocumented migration or trafficking), so as to “tap the energies of one flow while taming and suppressing the other” (Walters 2004, 245). To do this, and capitalize on global movements, the government itself must become more transnational (and migrants are encouraged to do the same; they must adopt entrepreneurial and transnational mobility strategies to capitalize on their employment potential). My project takes as its point of entry one mechanism and actor engaged in this disentangling—labour recruiters. In this dissertation I question not only where, how, and by whom bordering occurs, but also the (often tacit) presumption that bordering takes the form of overt exclusion or is ontologically inhibitive and decelerating.   2.3 Performativity and the Performative Border In this dissertation I couch my analysis in a performativity framework to understand the way the performances of recruiters and also other actors, particularly migrant workers, contribute to particular subject formations and how they both reproduce the state and its borders and offer opportunities for their disruption. At its most basic, performativity refers to the fact that reality is 41  not pre-given, stable, or inevitable but is continually brought into being. To say that something is performative is to say that it brings forth and produces a reality. Judith Butler has argued this is especially done “through discursive practice that enacts or produces that which it names” (1993, 13). In Gender Trouble, Butler (1990) sets out to upend the notion of gender as a fixed and stable identity. The “stylized repetition of acts” that constitute a gender identity do not merely respond to or represent an objective state of affairs but bring it into being; they produce and shape reality (1988). Indeed, for Butler gender is real only to the extent that it is performed. My project draws on Butler’s early strands of performativity theory, in concert with a small literature on performativity in political geography and sociology, to theorize about borders and states. Butler’s ideas are helpful for a politically attuned and robust approach to theorizing the embodied nature of bordering. I build from literatures on border studies, performativity, and governmentality to conceive of recruiters as petty sovereigns—as agents and sites of bordering based in a notion of the “performative border.” Seeing the border as performative implies five primary characteristics about borders, including that they are: 1) productive; 2) iterative and dynamic; 3) not inevitable; 4) situated always within a network of relations; and 5) embodied. I build on the idea of borders as embodied through the figure of the “petty sovereign,” which I argue is a helpful conceptual framework for understanding recruiters and their role in transnational migration processes as “border agents” who contribute to the (re)production of certain spatializations of the state and sovereign power.   First, I take a performative approach because it is aimed at upsetting presumptions about the given state of things. It rests on the premise that reality is both performed (not pre-given and natural) and also performative—that is, productive. For Butler gender is not stable and coherent, but the ongoing effect of repeated, embodied, and power-laden performances. The repetition of 42  acts that compose performances are “internally discontinuous . . . [so that] the appearance of substance is precisely that, a constructed identity, a performative accomplishment which the mundane social audience, including the actors themselves, come to believe and to perform in the mode of belief” (Butler 1990). Through repetition, a series of iterative acts becomes sedimented such that gender as an identity comes to be, that it is enacted and appears coherent. The presumption that gender is a “metaphysical substance that precedes its expression” is overturned by a performative theory of gender (Butler 2010, 147).  Drawing on Butler, I argue that the border, and for that matter the state as a bounded object produced through bordering processes, is produced through repeated performances, through the material and discursive practices of institutions and actors. To say that the border is produced as an effect is to argue that the border (as the territorial line of a sovereign nation-state) is only real to the extent that it is performed. Following this approach leads us to an analysis of how certain effects come to be constituted—to understanding which practices and processes, and under which conditions, the effects are enacted. To gender is to differentiate relations by which speaking subjects come into being; by application, to border is to differentiate relations by which border-crossing subjects come into being. The border is a node or site of differentiation, a key site to witness and interrogate the reproduction of migrants as particular kinds of subjects and also a key site of encounter that might reveal the possible disruptions to those formations. Extending Rumford’s (2006) metaphor of borders as “engines of connectivity,” they not only facilitate mobility but also are productive of particular subjects and relations. Borders do not merely represent the state of affairs but contribute to bringing it into being (albeit in contingent and unpredictable ways).  43  Through the reiterative processes that compose it, the border comes to be seen as an entity that is already bounded, identifiable, and knowable. For this effect to be successful, performances must be repeated. Butler shows how gender becomes sedimented through repetitive performances; it must be continually reproduced. The fact that there is iteration takes into account that borders have a history. Performances are both generative and accumulative. To say that gender is not pre-given or inevitable is to assert its contingency; it has a history and is a product that emerges out of a coordinated network of relations, of expressions, activities, things, statements, discourses, institutions, etc. The border that is sedimented through time is also geographically grounded. Viewed this way, borders are not ubiquitious; in fact, an analysis of borders as performative helps reveal the contestation involved in their production (Gupta 2006 cf Burridge et al. 2017, 6; Mountz 2010; Dodds 2012).  Performative effects are compounded through repetition, but the effects must be established with each reiteration. The performative border is constantly prosaically performed, staged, and improvised in everyday contexts (Burridge et al. 2017; Salter 2008a). Borders, like any institution, must be maintained, and the writing of the border, the state, and the world again and again requires the constant deployment of resources (Salter 2008a). Each repetition carries with it the possibility of failure or a counter-performative effect. The reiterative nature of performances means they are not inevitable, and that they can be disrupted. In the regeneration of social and political orders and relations, slight variations provide openings for unexpected or unintended effects. While border controls may feel inescapable, their makeshift, inconsistent, and iterative character points to the ever-present possibility for responses and counter-tactics. This dissertation explores how sovereign decisions of/at the border contribute to particular territorializations of state (and/or national) borders. State or national borders are 44  performative in that they are sovereign spatial productions that are both the effect of, and bring into being, the state as a spatialized entity. I am interested in recruiters as borders and as bordering agents both for how (and under what circumstances) their actions contribute to the production of the state as such, but I am equally interested in ways that their actions fail to perform the state, and especially instances where, as non-state actors, they aim to perform otherwise. Salter (2011) suggests that border studies can be enriched by focusing on performative aspects of borders by both state and non-state actors. Recognizing that borders (and their apparent coherence) are produced prompts a rethinking of their basic ontologies. We might thus escape from a delimited understanding of what the border or the state is (or can be).  The border is produced in part through the movement and practices of bodies. Through the relational encounter between, for example, recruiter and migrant, “the border” is enacted. It is produced in relational networks, through encounters. Mark Salter (2008a, 2011) has been the primary scholar to use Butler’s theory of performativity in theorizing on borders. For him, the border encounter represents an existential moment of crisis: the border is where identity claims are adjudicated and where performance is reviewed. There is an exercise of sovereign power intrinsic to the encounter, and for that reason in particular I am interested in how recruiters, who are primarily non-state actors, function as a kind of “border agent” engaged in making those judgments and sovereign decisions. Butler’s work is useful because it reminds us that the effectiveness of performances depends on how the subject performing bordering is positioned within broader networks and conditions. Actors are not positioned symmetrically; in the case of labour migration and a focus on intermediaries, there are triangular relationships of employer–state–migrant and employer–recruiter–migrant actors that are characterized by power 45  inequalities. These power imbalances impact how bordering produces mobility, the state, migrant subjects, and indeed the world in some ways and not others.  2.4 Recruiters as Petty Sovereigns My approach to thinking about recruiters, their role in performing the border, and the attendant implications for understanding reconfigurations of state sovereignty is fundamentally based in a governmentality-inflected understanding of the contemporary state. As a primary mode of state power, governmentality is concerned with the maintenance and control of bodies, populations and goods, and their production, regulation, and circulation. The governmentalized state is one marked by a diffuse set of strategies and tactics, and it operates through policies and departments, through state and non-state managerial and bureaucratic institutions. Government thus includes but is not reducible to questions of rule, legitimacy, or state institutions. As Wendy Brown puts it, “it is about the corralling, ordering, directing, managing, and harnessing of human energy, need, capacity, and desire, and it is conducted across a number of institutional and discursive registers.” These calculations and tactics have the effect of converting the state itself into “a set of administrative functions rather than ruling or justice-oriented ones” (2010, 60).  Foucault argues that as a mode of political power, governmentality rather than sovereignty has become the primary vitalizing mode of state power. Sovereign power is traditionally understood as “providing legitimacy for the rule of law” and “offering a guarantor for the representational claims of state power” in the form of the sovereign (Butler 2004, 52). In a historical situation marked by (neoliberal) governmentality there is an implied loss of sovereignty—the end of monarchy and the “dissolution of the homology between family and polity” (Brown 2010, 60). However, while the emergence of governmentality, even if we take it 46  to be a dominant modality of governance, may depend on a devitalization of sovereignty in its traditional sense (as providing a legitimating function and as a unified locus for state power), many scholars have reflected on how sovereignty is reconfigured and continues to operate in tandem, within, and as part of the field of governmentality (e.g., Brown 2010; Agamben 1998; Edkins et al. 2004; Walters 2015). In this dissertation, I am interested in how and under what conditions that sovereign power emerges and is spatialized within the frame of migration management. I use the case of recruitment as a fundamental point of entry (pun intended!) for understanding where the borders of the (nation-)state are negotiated, encountered, and brought into being—and the implications of that, particularly for the production and experiences of migrant worker subjects.  There are two key spatializations that underpin my framing. First, tactics and practices that comprise the governmentalized state can be embodied and have become dispersed, such that power is diffused and inheres in “petty sovereigns.” These are the policymakers, bureaucrats, their “authorized representatives,” and other actors within the ‘migration industry’ who enact, interpret, and implement migration policies. They effectively perform the border. Second, the devolution, privatization, and effective outsourcing of the decision about who may cross a border (and about who is a migrant worker) has resulted in an externalization of the border. The decision about who may cross the border, made by “petty sovereigns,” is occurring outside the jurisdictional reach of the Canadian state.   2.4.1 Petty Sovereigns as Decision-Makers that Produce Subjects In a detailed examination of the “legal innovation” of indefinite detention, Butler (2004) describes a contemporary form of sovereignty within the field of governmentality. She shows 47  how a diffused form of sovereign power manifests as the executive branch assumes the power of the judiciary, as managerial officials are invested with the power to decide when, where, and whether a military tribunal takes place. While it is tempting to see the state as a powerful and unitary entity, governmentality describes a field of political power in which tactics and aims have become diffuse, in which:  Petty sovereigns abound, reigning in the midst of bureaucratic institutions mobilized by aims and tactics of power they do not inaugurate or fully control. And yet such figures are delegated with the power to render unilateral decisions, accountable to no law and without any legitimate authority. The resurrected sovereignty is not unified under conditions of legitimacy, the form of power that guarantees the representative status of political institution. It is, rather, a lawless and prerogatory power, a “rogue” power. (Butler 2004, 56)  In Butler’s case of indefinite detention petty sovereigns are those governmental bureaucrats making decisions about whether or not someone will be detained indefinitely. They assume a lawless yet fully effective form of power, with the consequence of depriving individual subjects access to a trial and recourse to international law.18 These “newly invigorated subjects of managerial power” are of course not true sovereigns:  Their power is delegated, and they do not fully control the aims that animate their actions. Power precedes them, and constitutes them as ‘sovereigns,’ a fact that already gives the lie to sovereignty … they do not offer either representative or legitimating functions to the policy. Nevertheless they are constituted, within the constraints of governmentality, as those who will and do decide. (62)   None of the actors on the recruitment chain—bureaucrats, employers, or recruiters—is a true “sovereign”; they are “petty” in that they do not have the final say. Recruiters as “petty                                                  18 The act of deeming someone as “dangerous” takes place within a declared state of emergency, in which the state exercises prerogatory power that involves the suspension of law and due process for detained individuals. They are also invested with an extraordinary power over life and death.  48  sovereigns,” as figures invested with the power to decide (and with limited accountability), engage in an act of deeming those eligible (and desirable) for border-crossing.  2.4.2 Sovereign Power as Outside the Law, and Productive of Border Spaces  Butler (2004) shows how the exercise of a diffuse form of sovereign power, which emerges or is revitalized within a field of governmentality, produces certain subjects. The decisions of petty sovereigns also contribute to the production of certain spaces. In Butler’s case, current formations of state power are reconfigured in terms of the “new war prison” (53). Sovereignty is exercised through the suspension of law, in zones outside it. The state arrogates to itself the right to manipulate geography. In the name of the right to protect itself and through the rhetoric of sovereignty, the state extends its power in excess of the law and defiance of international accords, and in so doing provides conditions for the manipulation and restructuring of geography and temporality—in the form of indefinite detention.  Law is suspended to heighten the discretionary power of those asked to rely on their own judgment to decide fundamental matters. It can also be regarded as an instrument the state may use in service of constraining and monitoring a given population, wherein the actions of the state are not subject to the rule of law but deployed tactically and partially to suit the requirements of the state. In this move the operation of power is shifted from a set of laws (juridical) to a set of rules (governmental), ones that are not binding by virtue of established law or modes of legitimation, but are “fully discretionary, even arbitrary, wielded by officials who interpret them and decide the condition and form of their invocation” in extra-legal spheres outside the domain of the rule of the law (62). Butler refers to this as “making room” for sovereignty—that in 49  delinking sovereignty from its legitimating function, it can re-emerge within the field of governmentality.  In the case of recruitment and bordering of the Canadian state, I argue that the spaces of the border are enacted and reconfigured through the decisions of government bureaucrats and recruiters. Governmentality gains meaning and purpose from no unified sovereign subject but operates diffusely to dispose and order populations, to produce and reproduce subjects and their practices. The act of bordering, of making decisions about whom to include or exclude, is inherently a sovereign act. It marks out the subjects and population to be managed and, more traditionally, marks out and designates the limits of sovereign territory—the space over which the sovereign state claims to have authority and legitimacy to control. As I describe in this dissertation, the Canadian migrant worker recruitment and border-drawing regime is increasingly devolved, outsourced and offshored, and dispersed. It is externalized such that many bordering practices and decisions take place in a sphere external to the Canadian state—outside the jurisdictional reach of laws aimed at regulating and protecting migrant workers.  The instantiations of sovereignty enacted by recruiters occur not so much through the suspension of law, as in Butler’s case, but represent at once an extension of state action outside the territorial jurisdiction of Canada, into, for example, office spaces in Mexico City, and also a contraction or withholding of its legal purview. Jurisdictional space is that within which the sovereign state has legal hold, wherein juridico-legal proceedings and agreements adhere to the rule of law. Because bordering is performed by petty sovereigns, including non-state actors, in spaces outside Canada, this dual spatialization of extension and withholding has the strategic consequence of effectively withdrawing or suspending the reach of the law. The law is not suspended but the activity it governs is located elsewhere so as to be unreachable. By this act, the 50  state “is further disarticulated into a set of administrative powers that are, to some extent, outside the apparatus of the state itself” (Butler 2004, 55). There is a strategic separation of jurisdictional space, preserved at the territorial border, and the border space that extends into an extraterritorial, extra-legal governmentalized space. This creates in effect an extra-legal sphere in which border-drawing plays out. This strategic positioning of bordering activities, through policy devolution, privatization, and outsourcing so that they are effectively outside the rule of law, “makes room” for the resurgence of sovereignty.  As Butler (2004) notes, this extra-legal sphere of governmentality emerges only once separated from the rights of sovereignty; once a sphere of managing populations ‘outside of law’ emerges, sovereignty no longer operates as a principle that would furnish justification for those forms of population management, and so sovereignty is transformed and becomes self-grounding in an effort to maintain and extend its own power. For Agamben (1998), contemporary forms of sovereignty exist in structurally inverse relation to the rule of law, emerging precisely at that moment when the rule of law is suspended and withdraws. This inverse relation to law produces the “unaccountability” of this operation of sovereign power (also Butler 2004, 66). The result is the production of a sort of “paralegal universe.”  In this case the so-called paralegal sphere is a largely “front-end” realm, akin to Mountz’s (2010) “long tunnel” that is created as the state excises jurisdictional space within its own territory for strategic purposes. Rather than functioning within the state, here the resulting border space, embodied in and enacted by the figure of the recruiter, is like a portal whose opening is located in an extra-territorial and extra-legal space, but also a route through which potential border-crossers begin to enter into the state—through which they come into relation with it through their differential inclusion. In Butler’s (2004) example the state produces a law that is 51  not law, and in this case there is the production of a border that is no border. Recruiters perform a border, but it is not so much a “formal” border as it is a “practical” one (Salter 2011)—one which precedes but conditions the crossing of the formal and territorial border later in the recruitment and migration process. Recruiters contribute to the production of a sphere of bordering that is outside law and geographically outside jurisdictional space.  2.5 Conclusion: Why the Border as an Analytical Frame? Describing how states are mobile entities that manifest through border enforcement at ports of entry, Mountz (2011c) tracks the movements of those who are displaced from home, traveling in search of protection, and of the authorities moving to enforce the boundaries of sovereign territory. The encounters she explores occur at sites where authorities “stop counting, documenting, and including, no longer welcoming, processing, or registering entry” (318). She highlights how the provisional nature of mobile ports of entry conceals a contraction of spaces of asylum, disclosing an “ontology of exclusion.” In my project, I extend this argument, focusing on sites and actors involved in the processing and differential, conditional welcoming of migrant border-crossers.  Borders provide a particularly helpful vantage point for examining transformations of the institutions of states and citizenship. Many scholars have noted that in the context of globalization there has been a redefinition of the relationship between the state, citizenship, and territory. The withdrawal of the state is a key characteristic of neoliberalization, which has led to deregulation and privatization in many areas of traditional social provision (Harvey 2005). Thinking through the processes of the state and border-drawing in a neoliberal context, Ong (2006, 217) writes: “Globalization has induced a situation of graduated sovereignty, whereby 52  even as the state maintains control over its territory, it . . . lets corporate entities set the terms for constituting and regulating some domains . . . Weaker and less desirable groups are given over to the regulation of supranational entities,” allowing the state to withdraw also from accountability for the process. This description applies well to the recruitment of migrant labour in Canada, to “employer-driven” programs that essentially allow employers (and their contracted private-sector representatives) to select would-be immigrants. I am interested in exploring the practices associated with this selection, at the margins of that state, at the borders where migrants first gain access to the nation.  At the heart of my study is a question about spatializations of state sovereignty in contemporary transnational migration flows. As states are unsettled (empirically and theoretically) and reterritorialized, a governmentality approach, and one focused on governance through bordering, is valuable. Borders are instantiations of sovereign power, and I adopt a governmentality-oriented analytical framework that mobilizes a bordering concept to identify and locate the where, who, and how of border work.19 My empirical interest is in recruiters, as primarily non-state actors, and their exercises of sovereign power. My project contributes to a growing field of critical migration and borders research informed by governmentality studies (e.g., Mezzadra and Nielson 2013; Walters 2011, 2015; Mountz 2010; Hyndman 2012; Balibar 2004; Coleman 2007). I recognize that rather than viewing borders as either bridges or barriers, the phenomena analyzed should instead be the techniques of government or statecraft (that                                                  19 A governmentality approach is particularly useful for mapping spatializations of sovereignty precisely because its understanding of power is not wedded to a static concept like the state. As an “inessentialist and flexible framework of power analysis,” governmentality is particularly well suited to “making sense of new territories of power that migration is bringing into the world” (Walters 2015, 16). 53  contribute to the production of borders as both bridges and barriers), and I focus on borders because of the insight they provide into statecraft. In addition, I focus on borders because they demarcate the margins of the state, and it is through the threshold of the state, through the line that marks the outside, that the inside is revealed. A primary concern related to my interest in examining emerging forms of bordering is to understand how they may incorporate racial and ethnic, class, and gender stereotypes and prejudices that perpetuate existing inequalities. Closely examining bordering processes reveals their differential effects. Borders are sites where sovereign decisions impact inclusion and exclusion. They are key sites where a range of claims-making and status determinations are made, where the deeming of those desirable and deserving occurs. Borders are key components of “the complex, perpetually ongoing, hegemonic nation-building process” (Paasi 2012, 2305). Recruiters are an empirical entry point to examine mobile bordering practices and where and how they occur, and in the next chapter I turn to describe my methodological approach to studying them.   54  Chapter 3: A Multi-sited, Mobile Methodology Land lies in water; it is shadowed green. Shadows, or are they shallows, at its edges showing the line of long sea-weeded ledges where weeds hang to the simple blue from green. Or does the land lean down to lift the sea from under, drawing it unperturbed around itself? Along the fine tan sandy shelf is the land tugging at the sea from under? … Are they assigned, or can the countries pick their colors? —What suits the character or the native waters best. Topography displays no favorites; North’s as near as West. More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colors.   — from Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Map” (1983)   3.1 Introduction and Research Questions Human migration, as with any field or phenomenon, has its metaphors. Implicitly or otherwise, it is often perceived and discussed in ‘watery’ terms. Migration moves in flows and streams, which can be regulated and filtered, with taps turned on or off through policy openings. Programmatic migration routes are ‘streams’ within policy frameworks; in some cases they are even described as ‘pipelines.’ Questions of how much migration, when, and by whom swirl through policy worlds with an acknowledgement that there are bound to be leaks, and occasionally faulty plumbing. The threat of leaks, of people getting through that shouldn’t, justifies the construction of ‘dams’ in the form of walls made physically and through policy. Movements of people are seen as (potential) waves, tides, floods.20 The terms can have dehumanizing effects, and migrants, like water, can come to be conceived of as a resource to be commodified.                                                   20 Conceiving of human beings as “waves,” seeking out work or fleeing war, economic and political instability, and/or climate-induced natural disasters, no doubt does some work to commodify or dehumanize migrants. It may 55  I have two primary aims in opening this chapter with water metaphors. First, the water metaphors followed me, the researcher, throughout the project, and induced reflection on who I am in all that swirling. I was interested in the pathways that migration flows take, and make, and how the migration industry contributes to the initiation and facilitation of those channels. I realize that I saw myself as an explorer, indeed a ‘geographer,’ charting flows of migrant workers and attempting to map some of those waterways, their connections, where the dams are located and what forms they take. I also hoped to be a bridge, linking seemingly disparate fields of theory, groups of stakeholders, and analytic optics through that mapping. More importantly, the water metaphors are appropriate for introducing my epistemological approach. I want to emphasize the situatedness, contingency, and embodied nature of my research process and knowledge production (Haraway 1988; Rose 1997). I employ the water metaphor here to describe how the research process itself is always dynamic, moving, unexpected, and at times, like water, can be murky, churning, and even downright tumultuous (Cerwonka and Malkki 2007). And the process was, at times, tumultuous for me.  This recognition underpins the development of my research approach, one that aims to understand the role of recruiters, and situate them within the larger context of the state and market, as intermediaries. My approach involved attending to nodes of encounter where border-crossing processes play out. In this project I am interested not only in describing the role that recruiters as labour market intermediaries (LMIs) have in facilitating and regulating labour migration, but also in how their practices produce and reproduce migrant workers and the                                                                                                                                                              also shift accountability, as they could be seen (unconsciously or not) as ‘natural disasters.’ In geopolitical terms, people can be seen as ‘anchors’ that stretch family connections across borders, across oceans. For example, the concept of “anchor babies”—a disparaging term for a child born to a noncitizen mother in a country that grants jus soli citizenship—converts children into objects that grip the territorial soil of the United States (Preston 2011).  56  borders of the nation-state. Empirically, I focus on the recruitment processes for the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), and specifically its Stream for Lower Skilled Occupations (SLSO); for the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs); and for a bilateral labour mobility program connecting Mexico and Western Canada, as a case of “managed” transnational labour migration. The research was intended to address the following questions: • What does the recruitment process for temporary migrants for work in lower-skilled jobs in Canada look like? What services are provided by recruiters, and what is their role in facilitating international migration?  • How and to what extent do the adoption of micro-level economic immigration policy initiatives (the TFWP and PNPs) result in a contracting out of (im)migrant selection? Where is bordering occurring, and by whom?  • What mundane practices of gatekeeping are performed by recruiters, employers, and government actors, and how do they contribute to the constitution and regulation of borders of the nation-state? How are certain migrant selection criteria constructed as desirable, and by whom?   The larger question around which this dissertation coheres is how state and non-state actors’ border-drawing activities contribute to (re)spatializations of state sovereignty.  There are arguments for emphasizing the experiences of migrants, giving space to those whose voices are often ignored. Likewise, there are arguments for focusing on the role of the state in migration studies—to highlight and critically evaluate its exercise of power and identify areas for policy intervention. However, I intentionally chose not to study ‘the state,’ or ‘the migrants,’ or even the employers (though they are often disturbingly absent from labour migration studies; Krissman 2005)—but to foreground the role and activities of recruiters. They are my point of departure to explore the mundane practices and sites of bordering.  In this chapter I lay out my methodological framework for studying transnational labour recruitment. I describe how specific techniques were assembled and used to generate data that 57  enabled me to answer the research questions posed by my conceptual framework outlined in the previous chapter (Crang 2009). I explain which methods were chosen, and why, and I describe the process of conducting my research.   3.2 Research Approach and Epistemological Framework I embarked on this project, in part, because of an interest in exploring ways of engaging in ethnographic methods to study global mobility (Burawoy et al. 1991; Burawoy 2000; Pratt and Yeoh 2003). My research design draws on other studies about the governance of mobility and transnational migration management. My project was influenced by two primary research approaches: transnational approaches to studying migration and institutional ethnography or ethnographies of the state. It is rooted in poststructural thinking about state spatiality and feminist qualitative research approaches.  3.2.1 Taking a Transnational Frame As migrants move across the epigraph lines from Elizabeth Bishop’s poem “The Map,” as they move in and out of those “delicate” colors, traditional geographical research attempts to map their movements, trajectories, and experiences. Transnationalism has been one attempt at shifting our optics from two-dimensional representations, from seeing migrant movement as linear and fixed—in fact, it has challenged the very colorings of those countries, as they bleed into each other like the land and sea of the poem. As a field and analytic optic, the transnational turn in theorizing international migration opened new ways of thinking about mobility and border-crossings. Examining international migration through a transnational lens involves focusing on 58  connections between origins and destinations, on processes that transcend or exist “beyond”—or, indeed, bring into being—the territorial border between the two. It necessitates a move away from a sending/destination state binary, instead emphasizing the cross-border nature of migration movements. Reframing international migration as transnational also disrupts unilinear assumptions implicit in traditional approaches, which often conceptualize it in terms of a settler-sojourner dichotomy. Moreover, a transnational approach also disrupts the analytic lens of the nation-state as contained territory. It allows the study of international migration, and global mobility, to move beyond methodological nationalism, an “intellectual orientation that assumes national borders to be the natural unit of study, equates society with the nation-state, and conflates national interests with the purposes of social sciences” (Glick Schiller 2005, 440; Wimmer and Glick Schiller 2003). As a framework, it calls for a deeper understanding of socio-cultural, economic, and political transborder processes.  However, while it foregrounds border crossings, transnationalism remains anchored in nation-states. The transnational depends on the national and the two are co-implicated (Baubock 2003). In my study of geographies of global governance, I intentionally chose to study a phenomenon—transnational labour migration—that is presumably anchored by two independent nation-states, even as my analysis problematizes state spatiality and the where, how, when, and by whom of that anchoring. Glick Schiller (2005) proposes that studies of transnationalism focus on emerging forms of imperial power, and Anderson (2000) argues that nation-building processes and their inherent power relations should be the analytic point of departure, which would entail a historically and geographically grounded account. In this vein, rather than locating transnational mobility outside, above, between, or across territorial borders, I am interested in why and how those borders come to matter.  59  Insights offered by transnationalism are important in thinking about scale and the framing of research and about what might be left obscured by only taking on particular units of analysis or adopting particular scalar frames. Ultimately, a “transnational” approach was integral to the formation of my research design, one that would be well attuned to telling the multiple facets of a transnational migration story, working outward from the recruiter—a point where market, state, and migrant interests and desires intersect, are negotiated, and indeed, come into being.  3.2.2 Multi-sited Approaches to Studying Global Mobility In developing my approach, I wanted to draw on a transnational frame, but one which remained grounded in everyday, material practices—one which takes into account “the emplacement of mobile subjects and the embodiment of their everyday practices” (Smith 2005, 1; Mitchell 1997; Ley 2004). For this reason I was drawn to an ethnographic approach, for its attention to mundane practices and commitment to situatedness. I embarked on this project with an interest in how to take a largely qualitative, highly “immersive” approach to studying global labour mobility and transnational geographies of governance. Because of an interest in embodied spatial practices of border-drawing, I found myself in the terrain of feminist social scientists, particularly those doing critical ethnographies. This project is very much influenced by critical ethnographic approaches including institutional ethnography (Smith 1987, 2005), ethnographies of the state (e.g., Mountz 2003, 2010; Belcher and Martin 2013; Kuus 2014), and global ethnography (Burawoy 2000).21 Such approaches focus on the social interactions that are institutionalized                                                  21 My project is interested in sovereign power, and for this reason my approach draws on previous work that has explored ethnographies of the state. I am especially indebted to the work of Mountz (2003, 2010), who examined the quotidian practices of state bureaucracy with the objective of demonstrating how the state—as a dominant institution with powerful material effects for migrants—is a more improvised and less coherent entity than supposed. Mountz’s 60  through everyday life. They are useful in mapping the topography of translocal relations that coordinate activities and relationships within institutions, and are relevant for my study of gatekeeping processes in state bureaucracy and in the migrant labour recruitment process.  The need to follow social and economic processes connecting “even the most isolated of places” have opened up new ways of thinking about and through the spaces of possible sites for investigation. Tracking large-scale political and economic processes and the circulations of goods, capital, practices, meanings—and people!—calls for a mobile research perspective (Marcus 1995; Burawoy 2000; Scheper-Hughes 2004; Ong 2006).22 In recent years, there has been much interest in mobile methods or innovations in mixed methods for research on mobile phenomena (e.g., Vannini 2012; Merriman 2014). One approach, taken up by many economic geographers, for example, involves tracing commodity chains—a variant of Marcus’s (1995) “follow-the-thing” approach (Cook et al. 2004; McCann and Ward 2012; Collard 2014). Multi-sited fieldwork approaches are particularly useful for grasping the interconnectedness of processes across multiple sites.23 Researchers studying global mobility, particularly those adopting feminist approaches, advocate such approaches for their attention to intimate and everyday experiences—of how global processes work out and are made on the ground, in                                                                                                                                                              work was heavily influenced by Dorothy Smith’s (1987, 2005) institutional ethnography, initially proposed as a way of documenting the exclusion and repression of women and others not included in histories of governing institutions.  22 As Marcus and Fischer (1986) write in an early publication that represented multi-sited ethnography’s formalization in anthropology: rather than being situated in one or two communities, “the researcher must be mobile, covering a wide network of sites that encompass a process, which is in fact the object of study” (94). 23 The tracing of global connections—of people, things, metaphors, stories, biographies, and conflicts—is the focus of Marcus’s (1995) “multi-sited ethnography.” He proposes a variety of itinerant strategies to track and trace movement within different settings of a complex cultural phenomenon. While multi-sited research is well suited for studies of global mobility, there are concerns about the logistics involved—a multi-sited global ethnography typically requires, for example, large investments of time and money. A more foundational concern, however, stems from anxiety about carrying out rigorous study across numerous, often distant sites. For one, the approach raises concerns about the amount of time (and level of commitment) researchers have to their sites and participants as well as around the attenuation of data. However, as many contributors to this conversation have pointed out, it is possible to study transnational or global institutions and processes while also engaging in “close observation of particular lives in particular places” (Comaroff and Comaroff 2003; Burawoy 2000; Ong 2006). 61  specific local sites (Katz 2001; McHugh 2000; Bailey et al. 2002; Silvey 2004; Megoran 2006; Mountz 2010; Tsing 2015). In fact, when the object of study is that of global processes, flows, or connections themselves, it is hard to imagine not engaging in multi-sited ethnography.24 My approach draws heavily on the work of Burawoy (et al. 1991; 2000), who proposes a research strategy of “global ethnography,” an extension and variant of grounded theory which is capable of capturing the complexity of transnational processes by following global forces and connections through research locations. This involves a tacking back and forth between the data and theoretical concepts, such that the empirical case pushes against and works to reconstruct theory.25 As an embodied research strategy, ethnography, or an in-depth, qualitative approach, is well-suited for studying global mobility.  What particularly attracted me to Burawoy’s approach is that it foregrounds the researchers own movement through the sociospatial world. It is a reflexive approach that takes into account the ways researchers and field sites are co-constituted through the research process, and it highlights the productivity of the frictions and negotiations inherent in that process.26 The approach aligns with feminist approaches to qualitative research that insist rigorous qualitative research entails mobility and reflexivity, and that the person carrying out the research is the primary tool of the research (e.g., Hendry 2003; Haraway 1991; Cerwonka 2007).                                                   24 Indeed, if taking the notion of cultural “unbounding” seriously, a bounded single-site approach was never possible, in that every site is constituted by infinitely crisscrossing entanglements and interrelations (Tsing 2005).  25 As Comaroff and Comaroff (2003) maintain, it is a process that combines the already known with the surprising, and the phenomenological with the political, dissolving an a priori breach between theory and method while it seeks to explain how the local and translocal construct each other. In this way such an approach focuses on global connections as its object, starting from a place of dialogue, with the reconstruction of theory as its objective. 26 It benefits from an emphasis on reflexive mobility, one that moves away from “masculinist” epistemologies that define objectivity by a strict hierarchy between knower and object and define reality and truth as fixed and only known through detached observation (Haraway 1988; Rose 1997; Sundberg 2003). 62  Grounding research in the “spatial stickiness” of the local and lived can also contribute to the disruption of narratives of globalization and neoliberalism as coherent and inevitable. Exposing contradictions worked out in the local not only destabilizes the abstract, but taking those anomalies or “failures” as a point of departure also aids in the reconstruction of theory (Burawoy et al. 1991, 11). Literature on transnational migration initially depicted transnational mobility associated with globalization as somehow inherently transgressive, but as Pratt and Yeoh (2003) point out, its effects are complex and often contradictory, and by attending to the specifics of place we can avoid abstracting (neoliberal) globalization as a durable entity.  The “global ethnography” approach argues for research grounded in local histories that explores global forces, connections, and imaginations, and contends that doing critical global ethnographies can disrupt the notion of the global as smooth, monolithic, and overwhelming. In a similar vein, “institutional ethnography” shifts sightlines (and sitelines) to see institutions and institutional practices as less coherent and more improvised than might be assumed. I combine these approaches, using a mixed methods, multi-sited design to examine the transnational labour recruitment process and understand the recruiter’s role and relationships within it. This design enables an approach that is effective at both describing and modeling an approach to these intermediaries of the labour migration process.  In developing my approach, I was influenced by other studies that have used multi-sited approaches to study global connections, transnational migration management, and state spatiality. In her work, Tsing (2005, 2015) focuses on messy and unpredictable negotiations between a multiplicity of actors across what she calls “zones of awkward engagement.” She uses ethnographic fragments to interrupt stories of unified and successful neoliberal global regimes. In the late 1990s, Ong (1999) called for transnational scholarship that shifts attention to multiple 63  sites and examines the big picture of the relationship between migration policies and capitalist restructuring. Her multi-sited ethnographic study of neoliberalism in the Asia-Pacific (2005) shows shifting and mobile technologies of governing that are recontextualized across her sites, revealing mutations in regimes of citizenship and rearticulations of sovereignty through spatial administration. Scheper-Hughes (2004) “follows the bodies” in her multi-sited project, exploring the illegal and covert activities surrounding traffic in humans and their body parts. Her approach was helpful in thinking through the approach to studying illegal and clandestine activities in situations where reliable data are hard to come by. While much of the migration industry and work of migration recruiters and consultants blurs the line between legal and illegal, I intentionally focus on the more “legitimate” actors in the industry, because of my interest in exercises of sovereign power. Scheper-Hughes calls her investigation of global circulation a politically engaged “muckraking” ethnography, and argues that ethnographic fieldwork is especially well suited to explicate novel intersections in geographical and sociopolitical spaces and the formation of new and unexpected assemblages and institutions, actors, and ethics. In distinct but related ways, these studies all show the benefits of a mobile and multi-sited, in-depth, qualitative approach to studying global mobility. A multi-sited approach allows for a chain or networked approach to following interrelations and processes through various sites.  Part of my interest in adopting my research approach was to explore how to piece together a study the “margins” of the state and its borders through multiple sites. Drawing from Tsing (2005, 2015) I conceive of recruiters, as intermediary actors who embody and perform bordering activities, as points of friction or nodes of encounter in the recruitment chain. The recruiter is one point of entry in the labour recruitment chain from which to work outward to tell the story of cross-border processes associated with temporary labour recruitment and migration. 64  Using the case of migrant worker recruitment and the role of intermediaries, I aim to understand how changing relations between (transnational) governmental practices and national territories challenge and reconfigure state spatiality. To understand state spatialization, it is important to attend not only to theoretical understandings of the state but also to their less dramatic, multiple, and mundane bureaucratic embodiments.   3.3 Methods In the end, this multi-method journey took me through three overlapping phases in three “sites.” First, I engaged in a research internship with the BC provincial government in 2009, during which I conducted interviews with a range of stakeholders and observed the inner-workings of two government departments involved in migrant worker recruitment and assessment. This served as the point of departure for a series of additional interviews and qualitative fieldwork, carried out in Western Canada and Mexico City (2010–2012). Finally, in 2013 I administered an online survey of recruiters and immigration consultants, as well as employers who contracted them, who were operating in Western Canada. Together, these pieces form a picture of migrant worker recruitment and the role and profile of recruiters in the process. The three phases of the study and the methods for data collection and analysis are described in detail below.   65  3.3.1 Institutional Ethnographic Fieldwork The institutional ethnographic component consisted of a research internship through Mitacs with the BC provincial government.27 I submitted a proposal to an open call through Mitacs to work for a several month period on a research project called “Evaluating International Recruiters in the Context of Temporary Foreign Worker Migration to British Columbia.” The project was exploratory in nature, with the primary objective of examining the migrant worker recruitment landscape and profiling international labour brokers in BC.  For a period of several months, I participated in daily office life, splitting my time between two departments. During the course of the internship, I was considered a BC provincial government employee; I was required to swear an oath of allegiance and to sign the Standards of Conduct form and was granted access to confidential information. I was given access to a regular workstation in the offices, which included a phone, government e-mail, and general access to the government computer network and other office supports. The office space served as the base from which I conducted the initial 48 of my total semi-structured interviews, including in-depth interviews with many employees working in the two offices. During my time working there, I was treated in many ways as any other employee and felt welcomed, though there were moments when I felt hesitation from others working in the office—sometimes out of suspicion but primarily out of curiosity—about my presence and aim. There was a general acknowledgement that this was an exceptional situation and that I was only there temporarily, and I received mixed reactions from others who perceived me as either a                                                  27 The Immigration Partnerships and Initiatives Branch, in partnership with Metropolis BC and through the Mitacs organization, funded the provincial government internship. Mitacs is a non-profit national research organization that managed and funds research for students and “builds partnerships between academia, industry, and the world—to create a more innovative Canada” (  66  “humble intern,” there to learn about how things are done in government, or an “outside expert” from the academic world, there to provide my consultation and conduct some research for them (the fact is I was at once both and neither). I was able to sit in on several government meetings, both formal, in-person full-day workshops as well as telephone and conference calls, as a Canada-Mexico bilateral labour mobility partnership was negotiated. These proceedings and my access to them led me to include Mexico as a research site (see Rationale for Sites section below).  I admittedly felt strong ambivalence about engaging in research through the internship. While I had near total autonomy over the research (which did undergo a third-party, academic peer-review process), by virtue of its framing and the departments within which I was working, the research I conducted as part of the internship was heavily employer-focused. It had a practical focus and objective, of outlining the recruitment process and identifying where best practices and supports for employers could be implemented.  Moreover, I engaged in the research internship during what some have called a neoliberalizing moment within the university. As the Canadian government endeavors to capitalize on the knowledge economy, universities have undergone intense and rapid transformations, assuming a role as suppliers of knowledge and human capital to industry (and, in this case, to government). The Mitacs internships are one example of the kinds of “strategic partnerships” aimed at channeling funding into “innovative,” applied research. While these links are important, some scholars have registered concern about shifts in funding models that privilege “applied” (rather than curiosity-driven or theory-building) research, which must demonstrate relevance within market and policy paradigms (Fisher and Atkinson-Grosjean 2002; Metcalfe 2010).  67  This research project was intended to support the development of BC policies and programs related to temporary migrant workers and the TFWP. At times I struggled with the feeling that I had to produce a “deliverable” designed to assist employers to use the TFWP, even as my research findings and my own political commitments led me to question the structure and premise of the program itself. I worried my work during that phase of the research was at best mitigating recruitment-related issues (I return to discuss this, and the relationship with government accountability, in Chapter 6). In the end, I produced a fact sheet on indicators of legitimate or reliable immigration consulting agencies, which was distributed by the BC government and posted on their website. Findings from the research internship were also distributed in several internal presentations to civil servants and through a webinar (Zell 2009). I also worried about so heavily foregrounding an employer perspective, but I consciously strived to include a cross-section of voices in the fieldwork that followed.  The research internship allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of “how government operates” with regard to migrant worker recruitment and the implementation of immigration programs (especially the PNP) from a bureaucratic perspective. I recognized that working with government, even through a formal partnership, does not inherently preclude a critical approach to the state itself. And I felt that, in this case, “the state,” at least at individual and departmental levels, was genuinely receptive to criticisms. One woman who worked in the office and who had always been friendly, but with whom I had limited engagement, approached me after one presentation of my findings to thank me. She specifically wanted to emphasize how much she appreciated the inclusion of participants’ quotations, as it came as a reminder to her that the numbers she worked with everyday do in fact represent people, acknowledging a sort of mundane dehumanization that occurs. 68  Because of my experiences as part of the research internship, and the personal connections it allowed me to make, I was better able to highlight to what extent the labour recruitment process is in fact employer-driven and to identify which factors influence employers to consider hiring temporary migrant workers and what role consultants play in their decisions. Within my larger dissertation project, the primary goal of the research internship was to gather information on the terrain of recruitment from the perspective of those making immigration and labour policy, promoting the TFW and PN programs to employers, and making assessments of applications. The internship revealed and was a good starting point to investigate the devolution and privatization of migrant selection and the location of “first borders” in the recruitment process.   3.3.2 Observation in Other Spaces I also participated in observation during fieldwork in other spaces, including at each of my interview sites (nearly all were conducted in person in participants’ places of work) but also at government and industry conferences, at one recruitment fair, in grassroots organizing spaces and migrant settlement workshops, and in pre-migration spaces such as Canadian and Mexican government offices in Mexico City. I had anticipated some difficulty in accessing recruiters and immigration consultants, but once I started interviewing them I was surprised at how willing and forthcoming most were. Interviews sometimes lasted several hours in length and I was treated to enthusiastic “tours” of several of their offices, which included in-depth accounts of their filing and coordination systems as well as virtual tours of their websites, email templates, and sample correspondence. I also sat through several phone calls they had with clients and encounters with assistants or other co-workers. Witnessing these interactions, combined with interviews and 69  followed up with survey questions, provided a comprehensive sense of these actors’ temporal rhythms and practices of coordination. Furthermore, their willingness to participate, and how they differently framed their interactions with me depending on whether they viewed me more as a government employee or an academic researcher, revealed important insight into their own (self-assessed) positionality within the labour recruitment network. This helped me feel out the locations and thresholds of gatekeeping moments—that is, identifying in which moments and under what conditions these actors felt they did or did not have “legitimation” and could exercise certain forms of sovereign power.  I took fieldnotes on all my activities during fieldwork, including on the daily interactions, meetings attended, and presentations of findings I participated in as part of the government research internship. Even so, the only conversations with participants or other actors that I considered “on the record” were those during a “formal” interview (this was directly following the formal consent process, and for co-workers typically in a separate, closed-door room), or when someone indicated I should “include that in your research!” Though not captured as “formal” data, all other interactions do provide an ambient backdrop that has shaped my analysis.   3.3.3 Interviews A series of in-depth, semi-structured key informant interviews were conducted with a variety of stakeholders, including immigration lawyers/consultants and recruiting agents, employers and industry association representatives, government representatives, and migrant workers and migrant-serving agencies. The purpose of the interviews was to arrive at a more in-depth understanding of the recruitment process as it was playing out on the ground. The interviews often became conversational in nature and covered a host of topics related to the temporary 70  migrant worker recruitment process, including hiring practices and employer use of recruiters as well as the range of services recruitment agencies/consultants provide. Including a variety of stakeholders as respondents allowed for a triangulation of voices across the various actors and sites. The first wave of interviews was conducted while I was interning with the government in British Columbia, the second in Manitoba, and finally, a third in Mexico City in 2011–2012. I have focused on participants working in or targeting the “low-skilled” sectors of the construction and hospitality/service sectors (particularly through the SLSO), but I am interested in the way skill assessments bleed across various levels and thus have included employers and recruiters working across a range of occupational skill levels within the TFWP (excluding the Seasonal Agricultural Worker and Live-in Caregiver programs). The scope was limited to those operating in Western Canada, with particular focus on BC and Manitoba, though a number of employers had cross-Canada or international operations, and many recruiters based in Western Canada placed workers in other parts of Canada as well.  Sampling of respondents began with a purposive group; initial contacts were identified through contacts in the government and in industry/employer and migrant-serving organizations. Lists of employers who have a history of hiring migrant workers and immigrants were provided by provincial government contacts in both BC and Manitoba. Additional respondents were identified through snowball sampling. Recruitment agents were also identified through these contacts, but to arrive at a relatively more representative sample of recruiters and consultants advertising their services, additional initial contacts were identified through listings from the 71  Yellow Pages.28 In Manitoba, agents publicly listed as licensed through The Worker Recruitment and Protection Act (WRAPA; CCSM, c W197) were also included in the contacted sample.29 Potential migrant interviewees were located via advertisement by flyer and in person at immigration-serving organizations, including at two “Supporting TFWs” workshops held in community-based agencies. Because of the precariousness of many of these migrant workers, I found in previous work that reliance on immigrant-serving agencies was key in establishing a level of trust. I recognized that sampling through such gatekeepers would be the most effective way to include migrant worker voices (Bilger and Van Liempt 2009; Bucklaschuk 2015), particularly since I was not engaging in longer-term, participatory work with migrant populations as part of this study. To respect their time and effort, each migrant worker participating was offered a $20 honorarium. Snowball sampling was used, with initial informants recommending additional individuals. An effort was made to include a wide-ranging cross-section of each stakeholder group, for example in terms of employer size, level of government, and geographical distribution. Snowballing was especially useful for identifying labour recruitment agencies that may have been difficult to engage other than through personal referrals. In total, 110 in-depth, formal interviews were conducted with 123 individuals between 2009 and 2012. Table 1 outlines the distribution of the participants across the various stakeholder groups represented in the study. These included a variety of groups involved in the TFWP and the recruitment of migrant workers: Canadian and Mexican policymakers and government bureaucrats (n = 40); industry association representatives and Canadian employers of TFWs (n =                                                  28 Key words included in Yellow Pages searches were “temporary foreign worker,” “foreign worker,” “immigration consultant,” “recruitment agency,” “labour recruiter,” and “employment agency” (with a total of about 400 relevant listings).  29 A current list is available at: 72  22); recruiters and immigration consultants (n = 22); migrant worker advocates, community representatives and Economic Development Officers (EDOs; particularly in rural areas) and frontline settlement workers in Canada (n = 28); and migrant workers in Canada (n = 11).  Table 1: Distribution of Interviews Stakeholder Group British Columbia Manitoba Other Western Canada Mexico Government 12 18 - 10 Employer / Industry Association or Union Representative 11 9 1 1 Recruiters/Consultants 9 5 3 5 Community/Settlement Service Sector 5 19 - 4 Migrant Workers 8 3 - - TOTAL (n = 123) 45 4 54 20   The semi-structured interviews lasted between thirty minutes and three and a half hours, with the majority approximately one-hour in length. Interviews were conducted at a time and place that was convenient to the participant, in person where possible. Detailed notes were prepared from these interviews, most of which were audio-recorded and transcribed. Consent forms and all recruitment materials were translated into Spanish for Mexican respondents, and their interviews were conducted primarily in Spanish. A Spanish interpreter accompanied me on interviews conducted in Mexico. She was originally from Mexico City and was an immigrant to Canada herself (and had used a consultant when she first arrived as an international student). She 73  interjected questions at a few points during interviews, and her comments regarding interviews were often enlightening and contributed to analysis and the identification of emerging themes.  Interviews consisted of semi-structured conversations and focused on issues related to the recruitment and migration of migrant workers that were most familiar to a given participant. For each respondent I adapted the general questionnaire template to focus more on themes related to their area of expertise. Initial interviews conducted in BC were conversational in nature and were used to hone interview topics and questions in later interviews, which became more refined through the project. The pattern was repeated in the Manitoba and Mexico contexts. This approach entailed a “tacking back and forth” between theory and data—an ongoing analysis of the data and fieldnotes, which allowed me to be open to “surprises” or “puzzles” as they emerged in the field (Burawoy et al. 1991; Burawoy 2000; Pratt 2004; Cerwonka 2007). A saturation method was used to determine when a sufficient number of interviews had been conducted—that is, when I felt that additional interviews would no longer lead to a further expansion or refinement of analytic categories. While I conducted a relatively large number of formal interviews, which yielded an immense amount of data, many informal conversations were also had along the way. Together with observation and fieldnotes, these provide the primary data for the project.   3.3.4 Survey of Recruiters and Employers To establish a profile of recruiters and immigration consultants operating in Western Canada, I conducted an online survey. The survey also allowed me to corroborate findings from interviews and to reach a wider sample. Two distinct survey questionnaires were developed, based on findings from the previous two phases of research. The first was aimed at recruiters and 74  immigration consultants involved in recruitment, and a second targeted employers who have or are considering hiring migrant workers and contracting recruiters. The questionnaires asked a series of questions about topics such as the company background, typical clients and services offered, migrant worker source countries and occupational skill level and language assessments, relationships with employers and government departments, and reflections on the migration recruitment and consulting industry. The questionnaires included 28 questions each and were designed to take about 10–20 minutes to complete. They were piloted with four individuals and feedback informed revisions to a few questions. Survey design and implementation followed guidelines recommended in Fowler (2002) and Dillman et al. (2009). The surveys were administered online through a program hosted by the University of British Columbia and data were stored on a Canadian-based server. The online surveys were live for a three-month period in the spring of 2013.  The sample was identified using the same method outlined in the Interviews section above. The same list of potential interview participants was expanded through updated lists from government and industry association representatives, the updated WRAPA list of registered recruiters in Manitoba, the list of registered immigration consultants available from the ICCRC website (, updated Yellow Page searches, a series of Google searches, and through snowballing from key informant interviews. This list was supplemented with additional employer names identified through a search of advertisements placed on the Canada Job Bank website (, as interviews with labour recruiters and Service Canada indicated this was a common way recruiters located employers with active Labour Market Impact Assessments 75  (LMIAs, previously LMOs; see discussion in Chapter 5).30 The Job Bank search was limited to postings in BC and Manitoba in the construction and hospitality/service sectors.  Invitations to participate in the survey were sent to 212 recruiter contacts and 329 employer contacts in Western Canada. A total of 44 recruiters/consultants and 27 employers completed the survey, constituting response rates of 20.8% and 8.2%, respectively. The response for recruiters/consultants was higher than anticipated. Due to snowball sampling and the consent process, a degree of self-selection of participants was unavoidable. I also received a few individual email responses from individuals who expressed interest in the topic or who wanted to emphasize a point about the issue of migrant worker recruitment but who did not wish to complete the survey. I included such correspondence as qualitative data. Findings from the survey inform my analysis throughout the dissertation.  In the absence of comprehensive information on the industry, the primary objective of the survey is to provide new primary data and background information on the profile and role of labour recruiters. I am well aware that the sample comprises those most “visible” in the industry—those who are registered as employment agencies or who advertise their services in the phonebook or online, for example. I recognize that there are many “ghost consultants” and friends, family members, or other actors who perform recruitment practices but do not necessarily advertise. However, in this project I am primarily interested in those who claim more “legitimate” status. For this reason, I intentionally focus my analysis on more official “authorized representatives” engaged in recruitment efforts. The survey sample was also limited to those recruiters operating in Canada, though the questionnaires did ask questions about branch                                                  30 Posting an ad to the Job Bank is a required part of the LMIA application process. 76  offices and relationships with agents in other countries. While the sample of the recruiters is not representative, important information on their operational size and base, client base and relationships, activities and functions, and source country and industry sector focus confirms and expands data collected in other phases of the project.31   3.4 Rationale for Sites and Sectors My project explores the role of third-party recruiters in facilitating temporary labour migration, through the TFWP and PNPs, in Western Canada. At the time of my fieldwork, temporary migration to Western Canada was at an all-time high, and in historical context this was a relatively new movement to less traditional immigrant destinations. With large resource extraction (including in the oil sands in Alberta) and construction projects (including those related to the upcoming Vancouver Olympics), and generally high economic growth, the Western Canadian labour market of the mid-late 2000s was characterized by multiple respondents as “the wild west”—where recruiters lurked around every corner and employers were madly poaching workers from each other (see Chapter 4).32 Within Western Canada (comprising the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba) my emphasis is on BC and Manitoba, two provinces with varied immigration histories, discourses, and policies. In large part, I chose BC because of the opportunity to conduct fieldwork with the provincial government there. However, it is also a province whose economy is largely composed                                                  31 In the end, these data form a base of understanding of the profile of these actors, but it is really the role and practices of these actors that underpins my analytical discussion in this dissertation. A detailed analysis and interpretation of these survey findings is outside my scope here, but I hope to expand and build on these survey findings in future work.  32 The labour crunch of the mid-2000s was just distant enough to enable some reflection on the part of participants, but still recent enough that to be fresh in the mind. Many respondents commented that if I had approached them even a few months earlier they wouldn’t have had time to talk with me, and nearly everyone, particularly in the construction industry, anticipated things would pick up again within the year. 77  of small- and medium-based enterprises in large construction and hospitality/tourism sectors, and these employers are arguably more likely to require assistance in the recruitment and hiring of migrant workers (Zell 2009). Manitoba offers a productive comparison to the BC case; both provinces have increased temporary labour migration and both are involved in a labour mobility program with Mexico (discussed later in this chapter). However, they have distinct economic and regulatory contexts. In Manitoba, most temporary migrant workers arrive to work in larger manufacturing type operations (such as, for example, hog processing; Bucklaschuk 2015). Manitoba has in place stricter legislation governing the actions of third-party recruiters with the goal of worker protection (The Worker Recruitment and Protection Act, or WRAPA; see Chapter 6). Furthermore, it was the first province to adopt a Provincial Nominee Program and generally places greater emphasis than BC on two-step immigration (with temporary workers, even those working lower-skilled jobs, transitioning to permanency through its PNP). I have been especially interested in teasing out any differences in the front-end approach to recruitment or border-drawing processes in the context of two-step migration such as the PNP (if we conceive of an applicant as “permanent” and a future citizen from the start, how does that shift the approach?). I limited my focus to more “low-skilled” work in the construction and hospitality/service sectors. These sectors exhibited high demand for temporary migrant workers and were the focus of recruitment initiatives with Mexico and the Philippines (Clewes 2008; Polanco and Zell 2017). I also chose to focus on the TFWP Stream for Lower Skilled Occupations (SLSO; now the Stream for Low-Wage Positions; see Chapter 4) for political reasons; workers in lower-skilled, low-wage positions are arguably more vulnerable among migrant workers, and perhaps more likely to require or rely on assistance from recruiters/consultants. While I have retained this focus, it expanded when I started interviews, as I realized that intermediaries offered similar 78  services across the occupational skills spectrum, and the differentiation of skill and its assessment was in fact a crucial border-drawing practice for recruiters. Fieldwork in Mexico was undertaken with the goal of examining the source-country institutional processes that shape the migrant worker recruitment process and facilitate their “export” to Canada, providing a better sense of “where they are coming from.” Well before I had decided on Mexico as a third “site” for my research, it constantly surfaced in conversations about my topic and during the initial stages of project development. The fact that it continued to be raised by participants throughout the research confirmed the appropriateness of the case selection. Mexico was often referenced as an example of a presumably obvious and large source country for migrant labour for low-skilled jobs in Canada, particularly in the agricultural sector. The number of temporary migrant workers arriving from Mexico to work in Canada has grown rapidly in recent years. Mexico also has a well-established and relatively regulated migration management apparatus in place that facilitates temporary labour migration to Canada (Hennebry and Preibisch 2012).  Bilateral government efforts to stimulate Mexican migration to Canada, specifically for work in hospitality and construction, were in the process of formal consolidation when I began my research for this study. The Canada–Mexico labour partnership had three pilot programs under discussion (Sutherland 2008), and one bilateral labour mobility partnership is now in effect between Mexico and several Canadian provinces, among them BC and Manitoba. It is called “El Mecanismo de Movilidad Laboral – México–Canadá” or the “Labour Mobility Mechanism – Canada–Mexico” (LMM). While interning with the BC government in 2009, I was able to sit in on several meetings and conference calls as the bilateral partnership and the parameters of the LMM were negotiated. It is characterized by a coordinated government–government approach, 79  wherein Mexican public employment agencies directly recruit workers for Canadian employers, cutting out the middleman (to some degree modeled on the FARMS recruitment for migrant farmworkers for the Seasonal Agricultural Worker Program; Hennebry 2008; Hennebry and Preibisch 2012; Read et al. 2013). The opportunity to witness the evolution of the agreement and to understand the inner workings of its recruitment process allowed me to think through the way the Canadian and Mexican governments were attempting to manage transnational migration flows (as an alternative to the privatized, contract-based process for many Canadian employers). Choosing to study the LMM allowed for an up-close and more in-depth productive comparison of the systems of governance and border-drawing processes emerging in “public” versus private recruitment efforts. The Mexican “site” of this study was limited to Mexico City, where a number of officials involved in the recruitment of workers through this new labour mobility program, namely the Secretariat of Labour and Social Welfare (Secretería del Trabajo y Previsión Social or STPS) office, are located. A majority of “state-sanctioned” private agents involved in the recruitment process are also located in Mexico City, and the city is home to headquarters of several larger private recruitment firms, whose representatives could talk about branch operations and give some perspective on more informal operations of recruiting agents in areas outside Mexico City.33  Certainly, the choice of research sites—and of locating “the field”—is one fraught with intellectual, personal, and career interests that coalesce in research design. Researchers often                                                  33 Additionally, part of the driving interest behind this project extends from studies of transnationalism. Within the field of migration studies, instances of transnational behavior may have been exaggerated because of limited case selection, predominated by ethnographic studies of Mexican/Latin American migration to the United States (Hiebert and Ley 2006; Goldring 2006). Though there is a preponderance of research in the North American context, my project responds to Goldring’s (2006) point that there is a dearth of studies involving Latin American immigration to Canada—especially those that have taken a transnational frame. 80  remain silent on this point, though, describing their decisions about field sites as if they were “stumbled on” by chance, and the “repeated narratives of discovering field sites prevents systematic inquiry into how field sites came to be good places from the start” (Gupta and Ferguson 2008, 87; Sundberg 2003). My background in Latin American Studies and history of volunteer work with Mexican farmworkers, as well as the fact that I speak Spanish certainly played a part in selecting the Mexico site. However, I knew I wanted to trace the recruitment process transnationally, following networks across the official borders of Canada into the source country context. The timing of the research internship in BC and the fact that the operational details of the LMM were being ironed out in meetings I was attending provided the opportunity to trace this process into Mexico. Of course, I might not have latched onto the LMM as a case without a preexisting interest in the area, but the opportunity to attend those meetings allowed me to witness the development of a bilateral migration management program and to explore how states themselves act as recruiters (e.g., Rodriguez 2008).34 Fieldwork in Mexico allowed me to trace the process, from employer in Canada to recruiting agent (state and non-state) in Mexico, to Canadian officials and back again to the Canadian employment experience. Following this recruitment chain pushed the exploration of border-drawing outside the territorial jurisdiction of Canada and extended my “seeing like a state”—or “like a border”—from BC and Manitoba into Mexico and back again.                                                    34 It is outside the scope of my discussion in this dissertation to go into too much detail on the LMM itself, but I intend to use some of the data gathered through that phase of fieldwork to build on discussions and arguments presented here, particularly regarding distinctions between approaches of private, third-party and public, state-managed recruitment operations. 81  3.5 Analysis To analyze the data collected and generated through the multi-sited study, I employed established methods of qualitative data analysis. I established systematic codes based on my research questions, grouped thematically, and engaged in a first round of open, thematic coding, slowly and thoroughly going through transcript texts and interview and field notes. From that first pass through the data I pulled out in vivo codes (Cope 2003), specifically with the goal of identifying terms or tropes used to conceive of borders and their locations and of recruiters/intermediaries and their role in the migration process. These opened additional avenues of inquiry, and I returned to and refined my original research questions based on my initial analysis. I realized, for example, the predominance of the issue of language ability, though it was not a dimension I specifically set out to explore (Polanco and Zell 2017). It was through comparative data analysis that I recognized how systematically it emerged. I then engaged in a form of axial coding (Cope 2003), working across interviews (e.g., stakeholders groups and geographies) to note areas of overlap and to confirm the recurrence of certain patterns in ideas. Finally, the codes were visualized or mapped in networks and aggregated into larger themes, which helped ensure there was not duplication or overlapping of codes. As mentioned above, the analysis was a deeply iterative process, one that involved continually returning to theory and which allowed me to be both improvisational and adaptable in the field as well as flexible in the analytical development (Burawoy et al. 1991; Burawoy 2000; Pratt 2004, Cerwonka 2007; Comaroff and Comaroff 2003). Quantitative data collected in the survey were collated and analyzed using Microsoft Excel. Analysis of these data was descriptive in nature and primarily involved calculations of frequencies and cross-tabulations.  82  With an emphasis on dialogue underpinning my epistemological approach (Burawoy 2000), I see knowledge production as a flexible, creative, historically influenced process. As Cerwonka (2007) suggests, fieldwork itself is a way of reading and dwelling in the world through theory. I approached interviews as fully embodied conversational performances in which subtle shifts in affect, tone, and bodily comportment are sometimes as significant as what is said. “We need to learn in our bodies,” says Haraway, and I would argue we can only learn in our bodies (1991, 188). The body offers a site for the production of knowledge—for Hendry (2003), the person carrying out the research is the primary tool of research. The body provides another register for reflexivity, and both affect and embodiment are heuristic tools that contribute to our understanding of cultural processes through an awareness of emotional investment (Pratt 2004) and visceral response.35 Particular performances and self-stylings of personality and body intimately affect our knowledge production as well as our access to and interactions with places and other people. Throughout my fieldwork and analysis, I attempted to listen and to examine critically my own bodily cues. My fieldnotes provided some of the richest data for my analysis, and it was my own, sometimes visceral reactions, for example of discomfort or surprise at certain statements or encounters, that often revealed moments of contradiction and disjuncture as points for particular analytic attention. This possibility is at the heart of a mixed-method, multi-sited approach, and the harnessing (and acknowledgement) of the researcher’s own body as both a site and primary tool of research is foregrounded by a qualitatie, observational approach. I adopted this approach in an attempt to continually interrogate my “research performances” (Pratt 2000)—                                                 35 For example in Cerwonka’s (2007) sensation of claustrophobia as she witnessed a strip search at the local police station she was studying. 83  what worlds and relations my research interactions might bring into being, and my own enrolment in uneven power dynamics in those encounters.   3.6 Concluding Reflections on Positionality This chapter documents how I have approached my research methodologically and lays out the rationale behind the approach I chose and how it connects with my underlying research questions. Having described the mechanics of the research project, I want to reflect briefly on my own position in this research. I do this with the aim of constructing at least a clearer picture of my epistemological assumptions and political commitments, which invariably have shaped my research approach and encounters as well as the interpretation and presentation of knowledge. My interest in migration studies and border policy carried over from my Master’s work, and stems from a long history of volunteer and activist work with migrant workers (especially Mexican) in the U.S. South. My current understandings of temporary migration and interest in border-crossing and immigration and citizenship policy are rooted in these experiences, and many of my conceptual and theoretical conceptions build out of my previous research.  For most of my life, I had studied Spanish language and linguistics, and I place great value on the ability to communicate and to see the world differently through another language. I tutored English-as-an-Additional-Language students in my high school and volunteered with several non-profit newcomer-serving agencies, providing companionship and helping recently arrived Latina women learn to navigate the public transit system. Many expressed anxiety about leaving their apartment buildings and venturing out—for a variety of reasons, among them fear of the unknown, but also, likely, out of fear of racialized discrimination and/or border enforcement related to their migration status. When I moved to Canada, the shift I observed in 84  the prevailing policy discourse on migration was palpable; immigration was on the whole viewed less as a threat to national identity or as a security concern and more as a resource for development. The focus in Manitoba was on building “welcoming communities.” I found myself reflecting on the intersections between policy and lived experience, and between citizenship, hospitality, and belonging.  I am myself an immigrant to Canada, and I was even technically a Temporary Foreign Worker for a time. In fact, when I first arrived in Canada with a two-year work permit, I struggled to find a job; though I had substantial work experience and post-secondary degrees from prestigious U.S. universities, those universities were not widely known or recognized in Manitoba, and some would-be employers cited my temporary status as an issue. This experience allowed to connect with some research participants and shaped the questions I asked. At the same time, I am well aware that my experience as someone with temporary status in Canada was shaped by my social location as a privileged, white, English-speaking, settler academic. My border-crossing experiences have been vastly different than those of, for example, the Mexican women I worked with in North Carolina. Applying to become an immigrant and citizen in a country is a complex process with many moving parts. I found the process to be relatively smooth, but in retrospect appreciate the incredible amount of time and financial and emotional investment required. I recognize that, raised in a middle-class, North American context, I not only have an expert grasp of the language but also social training in completing these kinds of forms and application processes. Throughout my fieldwork, I faced the ongoing ethical challenge of negotiating how transparent to be with regard to my own personal and political commitments, as well as theorizations as they emerged. This was something I constantly calibrated and consciously 85  maintained awareness of—particularly after one interaction early on nearly derailed an interview, when a respondent engaged me in a debate on the meaning of the term “exploitation.” Holding to the unsettling feeling this challenge evoked, I committed to being as upfront and forthcoming as possible in presenting the rationale for my underlying interest in temporary labour migration and recruitment.36  In the above discussion I reflect on my position within government offices, and my insider–outsider status as a government-via-university intern. Outside of government, there was a sense and even expectation from some respondents that I would be able to bring forward their concerns to the government. I expressed my gratitude to participants, and at the same time was careful to stress my limitations as a researcher, reiterating that it was beyond my individual reach to actually change policy. At the same time, though, I did my best to summarize and share those concerns and recommendations with the appropriate government contacts to the extent that I could.  I am still surprised but exceedingly grateful that respondents and specifically employers and labour recruiters have been so interested in my project, and so candid in our conversations. I strive to represent our conversations and interactions as accurately as possible, knowing that they are understood, theorized, and presented through myself as the researcher at the center of this process. This center, or node of encounter, is akin to a kind of whirlpool, to return to the water metaphors—a murky place where various streams of ideas and observations swirl together. Quite literally, the process of analyzing these data is one of filtering, and the story that emerges is told through triangulation. This research is a performance itself, and as such it is iterative and                                                  36 I often was taken to be an “expert” in the field; one firm even asked if I would be interested in taking a job with them. 86  sedimented in my own history and processes of identity-making. My own identity as a Canadian citizen is implicated in this research, and my own experiences drive my interest in examining the bordering processes and agents that work to produce “the right people” for Canada as such. Having to some extent situated my epistemological approach within my own history, I now turn to situate my project in the Canadian policy context and the broader history of Canada as a nation built through recruitment and settlement.   87  Chapter 4: Situating Temporary Labour Recruitment in Western Canada There are times when, as I look at the regulations of the countries of the world affecting immigrants, I see in my mind’s eye the building up of walled-in countries… [with] doors that lead to them closing more and more against the stranger… In a sense, we are reverting to that stage in our history when our concern centered solely around each of ourselves… Certainly that is the course which regulations and statutes and decrees are pursuing the world over with reference to the immigration question. The doors which once were opened wide are now but slightly ajar. —Harold Fields (1932, 671)  4.1 Canada as a Recruited Nation of Permanent Settlers 4.1.1 Recruiters and Labour Brokers in Early ‘Nation’ Building  Canada has traditionally been a country of permanent immigration and continues to project an image of itself as a settler-society. The foundational narrative of the Canadian nation is one of pioneering adventure, wherein an unknown land was discovered by industrious and persevering European settlers.37 According to the prevailing discourse, Canada was arrived at through a project of settlement and nation-building. Immigration and settlement of the West was seen as essential to ensure consolidation of the country. Western Canada was represented as ideal for settlement, as “virgin land” available for the taking and “ready-made” for cultivation.38 Sir John A. MacDonald encouraged the establishment of colonization companies that invested in public improvement designed to attract settlers, especially those from Great Britain, the United States, and northern Europe (in that order). Settlement was also encouraged through policies such as the Dominion Lands Act of 1872, which offered 160-acre plots of land to settlers willing to live on and improve them. Through the late 18th and 19th centuries colonization of the Canadian Prairies                                                  37 That those frontier lands were not sitting empty, awaiting European civilization, is a complexity often obscured by this national narrative (Razack 2002; Thobani 2007). 38 A populous West would support economic viability of the proposed transcontinental railway and protect from encroachment of Canada’s southern neighbor. As Morton (2001, 105) describes, “Canada wanted its West but could not afford Indian wars,” so officials set out to negotiate a system of treaties and surrenders (including the elimination of Indigenous title to land) with the goal of clearing land for settlers at a minimum cost. 88  proceeded slowly, primarily through the actions of government officials and a host of private recruiting agents. The explicit goal of many of these actors, including and especially in the government, was to maximize immigration from Britain, eastern Canada, and the United States, and for a period of time the government commissioned shipping companies to recruit and transport settlers from these “preferred” countries (Hall 1977; Knowles 2008). A pervasive argument was that the Canadian climate “is particularly suited to the white race.” Competing with the US, Canada also embarked on an immigration promotion program in the 1850s, sending representatives to act as “immigration salesmen” in Europe. They promoted the emigration of farmers and agricultural labourers and discouraged the ‘wrong’ types of workers (such as mechanics, clerks, and domestic servants or “loose” women; Knowles 2008, 67).39  As settlement of the Prairies proceeded more slowly than desired, Minister Clifford Sifton broadened the target population to include any agriculturally-oriented migrants from other European countries. Following, in 1923 the Railway Agreement allowed railway companies to recruit even from the “non-preferred” countries of northern and central Europe. These immigrant farmers were attracted to the economic opportunities the Prairies presented (whereas “preferred” British immigrants were generally more interested in settling in urban areas; Korneski 2007). Sifton enthusiastically promoted the Canadian West and brokered deals with ethnic groups desiring larger tracts for homogenous settlement (Hall 1977; Gurlock 2009). His strategy aimed                                                  39 The first immigration legislation was passed in 1869, and it was soon amended to prohibit the entry of certain classes of immigrants deemed “undesirable.” Knowles (2008) points out that the early evolution of these acts marked out a pattern for future Canadian immigration policy—that it would be dynamic and implemented largely by amendments to the current act, which has enabled the quick and reactive enactment of any changes. 89  at attracting “stalwart peasants” broadened the definition of “good quality” settlers.40 Settlement of such groups provoked public concerns about their assimilability and incited heated debate about “Canadianization,” setting the stage for the installation of more defined, selective (restrictive) immigration policy (Knowles 2008). This recruitment also required exceptional initiatives, because most European governments were hostile to recruitment. Sifton’s department entered into special, often clandestine, arrangements with networks of shipping and transportation agents, who were subsidized and paid bonuses by the Canadian government to act as recruiters. Government representatives as well as transportation companies aggressively advertised Canada as a place for settlement. Migration to Canada in the late 1800s consisted of both those fleeing their homelands as well as the orderly resettlement of particular ethnic groups. However, while most observers assume immigrants during this period wished to settle permanently, Harney and Troper (1975) argue that migration movements were actually quite flexible and transnational in nature, involving intense cross-ocean labour circulation. Steamship companies and a variety of agents were integral to the massive new waves of international migration. At first these agents acted as brokers, forging connections between North American businesses with a “hunger” for cheap labour and job-seekers abroad. Over time this “commerce of migration” evolved, in conjunction with the development of chain migration through kinship and village ties, to become not merely a conduit for labour movement but the outright recruiter (Harney 1977; Castles and Miller 2009). Competition among steamship lines was fierce, and marketing was widespread and included the                                                  40 He described the “good quality” settler as a “stalwart peasant in a sheepskin coat, born to the soil, whose forefathers have been farmers for ten generations, with a stout wife and a half-dozen children” (Knowles 2008, 91–2). 90  mailing of promotional letters to even “the most remote shtetl in eastern Europe”—letters containing hyberbolic, celebratory messaging and prepaid tickets to Canada.41  Depicting turn-of-the-century migration to the “New World” as one of recruitment with economic purposes belies common perceptions of it as a straightforward and largely permanent process. There were certainly plenty of pioneer (generally male) immigrants embarking in search of a new life in a new land, often followed by family chain migration. However, Harney and Troper (1975) paint a complex picture of global labour mobility and transnational circulation. They point out that initial waves of migrants, including Italians, Macedonians, and Chinese, often viewed themselves as sojourners, who sent money to their homelands to foment rebellions or plant fig trees on land they would inherit, for example. Most eventually did settle permanently, though sometimes after several excursions between Canada and their homeland.42  The mobile and complex migratory movement in this period was orchestrated and facilitated through the actions of a vast network of recruiters and other agents who saw these movements as opportunities for profit. By the turn of the century these agents spanned the transnational routes connecting Europe and Canada. The reality of the trip and destination were no doubt disappointing to many; passengers en route to Canada were often packed in holds by the hundreds, with poor food and sanitation and limited access to fresh air on the upper decks. Over time, government regulation did improve the conditions endured during transportation, but                                                  41 One steamship company admitted to having more than 3,500 sub-agents in Europe, and the Canadian Pacific Railway was said to have recruited illegally in Italy, paying sub-agents 25 cents a head to “round up” Italians for export. Many of these companies were also involved in the slave trade. Also during this period, Canada became a port of entry for many Europeans seeking entry to the United States. Canadian transportation companies advertised Canadian ports as a hassle-free way to enter the United States, especially as it begin prohibiting entry for certain ethnic groups. In 1894 the Canadian Agreement allowed U.S. immigration officials to inspect ships landing at Canadian ports and if immigrants excluded by the United States were found, the transportation companies were responsible for shipping the individuals back to their country of origin (Hall 1977; Smith 2000).  42 Harney and Troper (1975) write that, “With 1,000 men and less than 30 Chinese women, no matter how long they resided in Toronto, such men must have felt like sojourners” (3).  91  most recruiting agents are described as “exploiters” who guided migrants through a “maze of taxes, passports, and papers,” whose activities skated the line between legal and illegal, and who entangled migrant workers in a web of brokers, loan sharks, hustlers, and other “shady characters.” Immigration was a “great free enterprise commerce and the commodity was human flesh” (6).  This brief history of early recruiters is included here to make a few key points. First, migration movements during the early settlement and colonization period of the 19th century were more complex and transnational than is often presumed. Even the movements of “indentured” foreign workers could be surprisingly mobile (Harney and Troper 1975). Second, while the emphasis on immigration to Canada was initially one of nation-building, with an interest in consolidating Western Canadian occupation and settlement, there was also a significant economic imperative. As much as recruitment initiatives were about building a nation (of those deemed to ‘belong’), they were also driven fundamentally by a desire for workers, and necessitated and promoted transnational labour mobility.43 Over the past few decades, the economic rationale for migration has been entrenched and strengthened in Canadian immigration policy. Finally, though they are often absent or their role glossed over in historical accounts, recruiters or private labour brokers were integral to the founding of the ‘New World’ and Canadian nation-state. Labour recruiters played an active and substantial role in promoting, initiating, shaping, and sustaining immigration to Canada, conceived and produced as a (white)                                                  43 In fact, the discourse of “nation-building” as a pretext for recruitment may be harnessed to obscure an underlying economic impulse and rationale. (I reflect on this in Chapter 8.) 92  “settler society.” They are integral to facilitating and regulating transnational labour migration, even as their work may be largely invisible from the outside.44 The primary difference between those early waves of labour migration and movements today is that border-crossing is a qualitatively different experience in the current globalized, geopolitical context. The world has been produced as territory to be divided up by the geopolitical powers-that-be—the “walled-in countries” Harold Fields mentions in the epigraph to this chapter. Canadian immigration policy has evolved to be more restrictive, moving from the ad hoc or outright exclusion of “non-preferred” migrants to the general exclusion of everyone, with the establishment of pathways to permanent settlement and citizenship for a select few. Today, border-crossing is a different animal, and even those whom policy permits to cross into Canadian territory may never have the chance to settle permanently. The story of permanent (European, white) settlement, as part of a nation-building project, remains central to Canada’s national myth. Its foundation through permanent settlement is taken as a given, but its recruitment history—as a settler-colony composed of “preferred” settlers and necessary labour—is reflected in its immigration and citizenship policies and continues to structure the parameters of the nation’s borders and bordering practices.  4.2 Evolution of Canadian Immigration Policy  4.2.1 Shift from ‘Nation-Building’ to Human Capital Approach For much of its history Canadian immigration and citizenship policies were concerned with peopling the country with “preferred” settlers. Leading up to 1895, immigration operated more                                                  44 As Castles and Miller (2009, 114) assert, the “commerce of migration” or “migration industry” is an inevitable result of the social networks and transnational linkages that form as part of the migratory process. 93  as an open-door phenomenon that sought to attract people of European descent (Li 2003).45 Prior to the