Sanctuary cities exemplify the rescaling of citizenship, community, and belonging. This chapter sets the stage for the book by exploring urban sanctuary practices and policies in different countries. Drawing on the USA, the UK, and Canada the chapter shows how sanctuary policies and practices aim to accommodate illegalised migrants and refugees in urban communities. The concept of the ‘sanctuary city’, however, is highly ambiguous: it refers to a variety of different policies and practices, and focuses on variable populations in different national contexts. The chapter examines the international literature to show how urban sanctuary policies and practices differ between national contexts and assess whether there are common features of sanctuary cities. It uncovers legal, discursive, identity-formative, and scalar aspects of urban sanctuary policies and practices. These aspects assemble in ways that differ between countries. The chapter discusses these aspect in relation to urban practices in other countries, such as Germany, Spain, and Chile. It concludes by raising important practical and theoretical questions about urban sanctuary.

in Sanctuary cities and urban struggles
Rescaling migration, citizenship, and rights

Recent debates over migration, refuge, and citizenship are challenging the assumed primacy of the nation-state as the key guarantor of rights and entitlements. Sanctuary Cities and Urban Struggles makes the first sustained intervention into exploring how such considerations of citizenship, rights, and mobility are recast when examined from different spatial scales. The collection brings together discussions from across political geography, urban geography, citizenship studies, socio-legal studies, and refugee studies to explore the role of urban social movements, localised practices of belonging and rights claiming, and diverse articulations of sanctuary in reshaping where and how responses to the governance of migration are articulated. Working from the intimate relations of the body and interpersonal accounts of sanctuary, through to strategies for autonomous settlement as part of Europe’s ‘summer of migration’, the collection sets out to challenge the often assumed primacy of the nation-state as the dominant lens through which to understand questions of citizenship and mobility. In its place, Sanctuary Cities and Urban Struggles proposes not a singular alternative, but rather a set of interlocking sites and scales of political practice and imagination, all of which respond to, and variously rework, the governmental demands of the contemporary nation-state. Mixing empirical cases and conceptualisations that move beyond ‘seeing like a state’, this collection will be of interest to geographers, political sociologists, migration scholars, social anthropologists, and urbanists.

Rescaling migration, citizenship, and rights

This chapter introduces the main focus of the book, and discusses a range of current work exploring debates on migration, citizenship, and rights focused on sub-national spatial scales, including the urban, the neighbourhood, and the spaces of everyday life. The introduction thus examines some of the ways in which migration is experienced, politicised, and policed when framed as a concern for cities, communities, and everyday life, rather than purely for the policies, rhetoric, and imaginaries of the nation-state. The chapter works through three key bodies of work to explore this rescaling process and to set the framework for the rest of the collection: first, the increasing devolution of mechanisms of security and border enforcement to local levels, and to cities in particular, suggesting a growing governance of migration at the urban level; second, the growth of sanctuary movements across the Global North, from social movements and campaigns to the legal establishment of sanctuary cities; and third, the connections between cities and forms of irregular migrant activism that seek to contest the boundaries and nature of citizenship. In exploring these areas of recent debate, the introduction establishes the context for the collection’s two main parts – sanctuary cities and urban struggles.

in Sanctuary cities and urban struggles