Irregular Migrants and the Sea at the Borders of Sabah, Malaysia
This book is an exploration of the relationship between irregular migrants, many originating from southern Philippines and the sea, in their struggle against the realities of state power in Sabah. As their numbers grow exponentially into the 21st century, the only solution currently provided by the Malaysian government is routine repatriation. Yet, despite increased border security, they continue to return. Thus the question: why do deported migrants return, time and again, despite the serious risk of being caught? This book explores the ways in which these irregular migrants contest inconvenient national sea boundaries, the trauma of detention and deportation, and other impositions of state power by drawing on supernatural support from the sea itself. The sea empowers them, and through individual narratives of the sea, we learn that the migrants’ encounter with the state and its legal system only intensifies rather than discourages their relationship with the Malaysian state.