This paper argues that purportedly outdated racial categories continue to resonate in contemporary forms of racialization. I examine the use of metaphors of rootedness and shadows by a contemporary UK migrant advocacy organization and its allies to justify migrant regularization and manage illicit circulation. I argue that the distinction between rooted and rootless peoples draws on the colonial and racial distinctions between wandering and settled peoples. Contemporary notions of citizenship continue to draw upon and activate racial forms of differentiation. Citizenship is thus part of a form of racial governance that operates not only along biological but also social and cultural lines, infusing race into the structures, practices, and techniques of governance.