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The status of citizenship and the rights extended to non-citizens are among the most contentious and hotly debated political issues in numerous Western polities. Some scholars, most notably Seyla Benhabib, have deemed the contemporary changes a ‘disaggregation of rights claims’, in which the interplay between ideals of particularism and universalism lead to an ‘unbundling’ of civil, political and social rights with formal national membership. Yet this theoretical framing harbors deficiencies that complicate our understanding of the contemporary politics of immigration. In this article, I critically examine this account to show both its theoretical shortcomings and the incomplete explanations to which these deficiencies lead. In particular, I focus on the case of the 2006 protests in response to restrictionist immigration reform in the United States. Furthermore, I suggest ways in which an agonistic pluralist approach to citizenship and immigration issues provides us with a richer account of the political negotiations under way, as well as a means to re-conceptualize democratic voice and, at least in part, to begin democratically legitimating borders and access to political membership.