This article investigates the ‘bureaucratic capture’ of migrant children through three technologies of the state: labelling, data production and social services, illuminating the ways visibility and invisibility are constructed and managed in the context of restrictionist immigration regimes. Using the case of unaccompanied asylum seeking children, Roma children and undocumented children we examine how in/visibility is produced; for what purposes, and with what consequences. We demonstrate through the simultaneous broadcasting and disappearance of migrant children, bordering is reconstituted through various performances, rationalities and technologies of immigration governance. The article argues the notion of ‘best interests’ is drawn on when the state can define these interests in accordance with their political aims and resources. The set of cases taken together provide novel insights into how states reconcile conflicting logics and reveals how the implementation of the child rights regime prevents some children from actualising their rights.
- state theory