Kaufman, D., Räss, N., Strebel, D and Sager, F (2021) Sanctuary Cities in Europe? A Policy Survey of Urban Policies in Support of Irregular Migrants

Citation: Kaufmann, D., Räss, N., Strebel, D., & Sager, F. (2021). Sanctuary Cities in Europe? A Policy Survey of Urban Policies in Support of Irregular Migrants. British Journal of Political Science, 1-10. doi:10.1017/S0007123421000326


Abstract/Description: Irregular migrants tend to live in dense urban settings. Cities therefore formulate various policies in support of irregular migrants. Given the US phenomenon of sanctuary cities, the study of these policies has been rather US-centric so far. This letter examines urban policies in support of irregular migrants in Europe's 95 largest cities. Only 27 per cent of European cities formulate these types of policies. We discovered two relevant policy categories: status and services. Only five cities formulate policies that aim to award irregular migrants with a (more) secure status, and 24 cities formulate policies that facilitate access to city services. Our mixed-methods analysis suggests that status policies take advantage of policy-making discretion whereas service policies hinge on the availability of local resources. Yet, there are no simple explanations for the observed policy diversity that is the product of place-based policy-making.


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This is NOT a C-MISE publication: this website hosts links to external publications and resources selected by the C-MISE team on the basis of their relevance for city authorities interested in service provision to migrants with irregular status, and are only presented here as suggested readings. External publications are the product of the authors there mentioned, and are not in any way the product of the C-MISE initiative, nor are they related or endorsed by the C-MISE initiative.