in Contingency in International Law: On the Possibility of Different Legal Histories, eds. Kevin Jon Heller and Ingo Venzke (Oxford University Press, 2021), pp. 199-212
Abstract: No single international organisation oversees and enforces global migrant rights or plans and facilitates migrant movement. Migrant rights are fragmented among, inter alia, human rights and labour law. Why does no clear, comprehensive international regime exist to integrate migrant law and provide oversight for all migrants as international refugee law and institutions do for refugees? Scholars have cited a 1951 US decision to withdraw support for a migration regime that involved communist participation. But the Cold War explanation sidesteps, among other things, the creation of an intergovernmental migration regime outside the communist world. Both the refugee and migration regimes subsequently paralleled one another’s development, but architectural differences ultimately rendered one more robust. This chapter shows how decisions that shaped the differences between these regimes were not entirely determined by the Cold War, while demonstrating how decisions related to another overarching historical force—decolonisation—resulted in the expression of these differences.