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This paper targets the observation that border control has become increasingly diversified not least since what is commonly referred to as the ‘refugee crisis’. This development, however, prompts the question to what degree conventional normative justifications or legitimization strategies of border control can still acknowledge these diversified practices. Alongside, the discussion allows evoking the more general question at what point a normative argument must take into account diverging practices. This paper will be structured in two parts: The first part investigates the deviations in border control, thereby structuring these along the lines of externalization, internalization, and privatization; the second part examines whether commonly used normative arguments for the justification or legitimation of border regimes can still be upheld in the face of deviating border control practices. The discussion ultimately allows a reflection upon the relation between theoretical reflection and changing practice in the context of border control.