Sanctuary cities from a legal-geographical perspective in an international dimension. How to envision future scenarios across borders

Authors: Keina Espiñeira*, Visiting Researcher. Institute for Global Law and Policy. Harvard Law School, Cesar Álvarez , Visiting Researcher. Institute for Global Law and Policy. Harvard Law School
Topics: Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: Sanctuary cities, immigration law, policy-making, local governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Galvez, , Marriott, 5th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This contribution provides an exploratory investigation of the different models adopted by the main North American Sanctuary cities aiming to test a potential model into European cities. It concretely examines the case of the city of Boston with the purpose of envisioning future scenarios for the city of Madrid. In doing so, it analyses the legal grounds taking into account the interaction of the different geographical scales, from the supranational to the local levels. There is no doubt that this is one of the most contentious issues, illustrated by current conflicts between national anti-immigration policies and progressive local responses. What does non-implementation of national immigration regulation imply? What are the competences of cities and municipalities in immigration policy? How does the decentralization of this policy contribute to, or hinder, the possibility of becoming a Sanctuary? Drawing upon the similarities and differences between both cases, this presentation will dwell into understanding the legal contours of sanctuary policies and practices, exploring different authorities and institutions, their positions and administrative and political actions, as well as possible mechanism for addressing gaps and short comings in new forms of governing refugee and migration on the local level, considering the challenges and abilities specific to cities.

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