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Title: Managing migration in the Greater Mekong Subregion:Regulation, extra-legal relation and extortion.
Authors: Latt, Sai S.W.
Keywords: Regulation
Greater Mekong Subregion
Series/Report no.: Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography;Volume 34, Issue 1, Page 40-56
Abstract: One major aim of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) integration programme, supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), is to foster regional‘community’ for sharing resources, people and financial flows. This ‘community’ is the target of both economic growth and poverty reduction. The emphasis on ‘community’ in the ADB's mushrooming quantity of documents raises important questions about what kindsof people are included, in what roles and with what kinds of support and protection. This paper explores these questions in relation to the political economy of regulating ethnic migrants from Myanmar working in Thailand. This paper argues that extra-legal relations between migrants and state/para-state agents constitute acrucial part of regulation. In transferring the regulation of migration to the national scale, the ADB inadvertently reinforces national differences between Thais and cross-borderpeople. Additionally, the complicated and fluctuating implementation of national regulations in both countries leaves migrants subject to violence and extortion from state and quasi-state agents in Thailand. This paper shows that the dynamics of global capitalism require ‘deportable labour’ supplied by ethnic migrants whoare included in the GMS community as the most invisible, vulnerable and exploited members.
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