During the last four months of 2018, I conducted an ethnographic research in Ventimiglia, an Italian city located on the Franco-Italian border. Since 2015, the city has become one of the symbolic places of the EU “migration crisis”, due to the suspension of the Schengen Treaty by France and the resulting rise in informal migrant settlements. The empirical research was carried out at Ventimiglia, in a number of different locations: from the city’s public spaces to the border “line”, but also inside the “Eufemia” Infopoint managed by the 20K Collective and the city’s Caritas centre, both of which provide services to migrants. The research tools were calibrated according to the context and the communicative situation, which was not always easy given the delicate and vulnerable conditions in which the migrants encountered during these four months of empirical investigations found themselves. At migrant support locations (i.e. Infopoint and Caritas centres), I primarily used participant observation, playing a direct role in the support and monitoring activities carried out in the area by the 20K project. I also used “shadowing”, a mobile research method that consists of closely following one or more people for a certain period. I walked several times with migrants along the route from the centre of the city to Camp Roja; I took the train that goes to the first French station, Menton-Garavan, in order to monitor the checks carried out by the French gendarmerie; and travelled from Ventimiglia to the Prefecture in Imperia, where asylum requests presented in the border cities are dealt with. I also carried out semi-structured interviews with migrants residing at the CAS (Reception centre for asylum seekers) in the nearby town of Bordighera and inside the so-called “Transit Camp” run by the Red Cross, which opened in 2016 in response to the increase in migrant numbers as a result of the border closure. The decision to investigate both formal and informal spaces was guided by the notion that both are the result of the constant redefinition of the border regime in Ventimiglia. Finally, I interviewed employees of NGOs in Ventimiglia, as well as officials involved in forced transfers between the Member States, and in voluntary and forced returns, in the offices in Rome (Italian Dublin Unit, EASO, IOM, National Guarantor of the Rights of Detainees).