The 2030 Agenda for sustainable development emphasises the need to facilitate orderly, safe and responsible migration through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies. The Agenda is underpinned by a migration management paradigm which emerged in the early 2000s as a set of guidelines to govern international migrations in a manner that breaks with stances that seek to permanently close or open borders. Through shared policy objectives, harmonised norms and practices, and partnership-based institutional arrangements, migration management hopes to achieve a regulated openness that can be beneficial to countries of origin, transit, destination and migrants alike. Since its inception, this consensual and “pragmatic” paradigm was promoted, adopted and strengthened by a set of international policy initiatives and international organisations. Among these, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) invites states to shun unilateral actions and to cooperate instead in order to establish legal channels for temporary and circular migration. However, the migration management paradigm and the 2030 Agenda ignore the agonistic nature of the governance of international migration. In view of the resurgence of the sovereignty of states and their one-sided actions, illustrated by Trump’s executive orders on migration and by Brexit, it may prove more difficult to manage migration through a regulated openness to migration flows.