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The experience of border crossing for refugees and irregular migrants challenges global border and migration controls in multiple contexts. Using qualitative field research in Tanzania, Spain, Morocco and Australia, Heather Johnson asks how a global regime of migration management and control can be perceived through the dynamics of particular border spaces: refugee camps, border zones and detention centres. She explores how irregular migrants are impacted by the increasingly security-oriented practices of border control, and how they confront these practices. Johnson rejects the characterization of border spaces as exceptional, abject and exclusionary, arguing instead for an understanding of politics as everyday contestation that reveals a radical political agency, re-imagining the global non-citizen as a transgressive and powerful figure. Building on recent scholarship that rethinks irregularity and non-citizenship, her conclusions have broad implications for how we understand irregular migration from a position of dialogue and solidarity.