The rescue of migrants at sea has recently been tackled by authoritative acts that have led to an increasing criminalization of solidarity between and toward migrants. By drawing on the case of the Mediterranea platform of activists, this article argues that the notion of arbitrariness defined as a departure from the rule of law fails to capture the ongoing conflict at the borders of Europe. By highlighting its ambivalent meaning, arbitrariness appears instead either as an authoritative attempt to impose a different order on society or as a means to contrast unorderable acts of resistance to border regimes. The article advocates the importance of reframing the demand for open borders as a call for freedom of those who challenge the pragmatic order of borders.

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