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Sanctuary Cities, Sanctuary Practices, and Firewall Policies in Europe

European Politics
Local Government
Migration
Solidarity
Activism
Policy-Making
P377
Julia Mourão Permoser
University of Innsbruck
Tiziana Caponio
European University Institute

Wednesday 12:45 - 14:30 (01/09/2021)


Abstract

At a time when restrictive immigration policies and the tightening of borders are high on the political agenda of many European nation states, resistance to such policies is emerging from below. One form of resistance is the provision of “sanctuary” to irregular migrants by civil society actors and subnational administrations. The notion of sanctuary is most often associated with local-level policies. The term “sanctuary city” generally refers to a city whose municipal laws and policies protect unauthorized immigrants from deportation or prosecution. Locally enacted sanctuary policies often stand in contrast to federal efforts at immigration control. Sanctuary cities thus constitute themselves as important sites of resistance to restrictive national migration regimes by refusing to cooperate and comply with federal migration enforcement measures. A common characteristic of sanctuary cities is the enactment of “firewall” policies, meaning the prohibition of public servants not directly charged with border enforcement — e.g. hospital workers, school workers, municipal administration workers, local police — to check migrants’ legal status. The aim of such policies is to provide a safe environment for irregular immigrants to participate in society, make use of institutions, and receive services without fear of persecution (Lasch et al. 2018). This phenomenon has been very widely researched in the United States, but less so in Europe. Nevertheless, new networks of sanctuary cities and cities of refuge are growing also in Europe (Oomen 2020; Squire and Darling 2013), and local-level firewall policies are becoming more common and moving to the center of advocacy at the local and transnational levels (Bauder 2017; Hastie and Crépeau 2015; Levoy, Keith, and Geddie 2016). This panel proposes to close this research gap by bringing together authors working on sanctuary cities, sanctuary practices and firewall policies throughout Europe, thus contributing to the advancement of this research agenda in the European context and enabling a broader comparative perspective.

Title Details
Seeking and Providing Sanctuary below the State: Insights from Wales and South Tyrol View Paper Details
The City-national Nexus: Negotiating Sanctuary in a Hostile Environment in Sheffield View Paper Details
Transnationalizing Sanctuary: Advocating for Firewall Policies in the UN, EU and Council of Europe View Paper Details
What Drives the Development of City Sanctuary Policies and Practices? Lessons from American and European Gateway Cities View Paper Details