In Myanmar, the Citizenship Law of 1982 made the Rohingya “stateless.” The Rohingya consider Bangladesh a haven and take to the sea on rickety boats to cross borders. If they do, however, they become “illegal migrants.” Considering such laws unjust, local and international NGOs have been leading struggles to uphold the Rohingyas’ rights in Bangladesh. This article registers the struggles of these organizations against the production of illegality and statelessness. It discusses how they contest and negotiate the thick mix of politics, the local labor control regime, laws, and national regulations, and how in turn the refugees assert their agency through resilience and resistance, individually and collectively.

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