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Open access

Representing Sanctuary

On Flatness and Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre

Vinh Nguyen

Abstract

This article takes sanctuary as a problematizing challenge to the state, coming into effect when political asylum fails or is denied. Sanctuary, it argues, offers a form of protection that does not take legality as its basis or reference point, and in fact often subverts such legality. Thinking with Aki Kaurismäki's Le Havre (2011), this article seeks to understand the kinds of “individual” protection that sanctuary makes possible, and what they illuminate about conceptions of refuge that do not require sovereign authorization, but instead find their foundations in interpersonal relationality, solidarity, and community formations. Through a “flat migrant aesthetics”—deadpan, anti-realism, and unarticulated motivation—Kaurismäki's film dislodges automated perceptions and clichéd narrative expectations to redirect attention to human solidarities and the building of sanctuary, on and off screen.

Open access

Sacred Welcomes

How Religious Reasons, Structures, and Interactions Shape Refugee Advocacy and Settlement

Benjamin Boudou, Hans Leaman, and Maximilian Miguel Scholz

Abstract

This special section explores the role of religious ideas and religious associations in shaping the response of states and non-state actors to asylum-seekers and refugees. It brings together insights from anthropology, law, history, and political theory to enrich our understanding of how religious values and resources are mobilized to respond to refugees and to circumvent usual narratives of secularization. Examining these questions within multicultural African, European, and North American contexts, the special section argues that religion provides moral reasons and structural support to welcome and resettle refugees, and constitutes a framework of analysis to better understand the social, legal, and political dynamics of inclusion and exclusion in contexts of migration.

Open access

Sanctuary in Countries of Origin

A Transnational Perspective

Alexandra Délano Alonso

Abstract

While current interpretations of sanctuary are most often associated with practices to protect, support, and accompany migrants with precarious status in countries of destination in the Global North, debates around the concept and practice of sanctuary in countries of origin reveal different historical and contemporary understandings. This article explores questions related to sanctuary's symbolic and political power in the Mexican context, specifically examining three cases: the Mexico City government's declaration as a sanctuary city—specifically for returned migrants—in April of 2017, the work of migrant shelters along migration routes in Mexico, and the work of Otros Dreams en Acción to accompany deported and returned migrants and the establishment of Poch@ House as a sanctuary space in Mexico City.

Open access

Alexandra Délano Alonso, Abou Farman, Anne McNevin, and Miriam Ticktin

Abstract

In 2018, the New School Working Group on Expanded Sanctuary collaboratively organized a series of workshops in New York to reflect on the question of sanctuary as a conceptual and practical starting point for cross-coalitional politics, including its tensions and risks. This short piece is an attempt to bring together the sentiments expressed in those workshops by activists, organizers, students and academics focusing on anti-racist, pro-migrant, and pro-Indigenous struggles, in a form that engages sanctuary as an ongoing question.

Open access

Stephanie J. Silverman

Abstract

For a 2016 article on immigration detention in Canada, I co-created a composite case study named Amir. At the end of writing, I left him indefinitely incarcerated. This article provides an opportunity both to suggest more ethical ways to research detention, and to query White scholarly acquiescence to anti-Black racism and the build-up of detention systems. To spring Amir, I slide a series of four, interrelated doors: (1) discretionary release; (2) a writ of habeas corpus; (3) the end of anti-Black, anti-Muslim, and anti-refugee discrimination in Canada; and (4) the abolition of detention. I conclude with a reflection on promising methodological directions leading toward a new horizon of immigrant and racial justice.

Open access

Patti Tamara Lenard and Laura Madokoro

Abstract

This introductory article lays out the objectives for this special issue of Migration and Society. In focusing on the stakes of sanctuary, both this introduction and the special issue concentrate on the ways sanctuary is inspired by, connected to, and symbolic of larger political and social processes. To see what is at stake, we outline some of the myriad possible meanings of sanctuary and examine the justifications given by the actors who offer and take sanctuary including notions of justice, solidarity, charity, and resistance. In highlighting what is at stake in specific acts and practices of sanctuary, we explore the benefits of pursuing a multidisciplinary examination of sanctuary, such as the one offered by the articles collected in this special issue.

Open access

Sabina Barone and Mehdi Alioua

Abstract

In this interview with Sabina Barone, Mehdi Alioua—Sociology Professor at the Université Internationale de Rabat (International University of Rabat), Morocco—reflects on the transformations that Sub-Saharan African migration has brought to Moroccan society over the last two decades, in particular with reference to identity and the denominations of the foreign others, the internal and regional dynamics of (im)mobility, and the challenges to social coexistence and national migration policies. He proposes conceptual categories such as “transmigrant,” “migration by stages,” and “migratory crossroads” to capture the complexity of the mobile experiences unfolding in Morocco. Based on his trajectory of engaged scholarship in favor of migrants and refugees, he calls for a renewed South-South and North-South academic collaboration and cross-fertilization through small scale, bottom-up research made possible by friendship among scholars.

Open access

Michael Blake

Abstract

The increasing political salience of the sanctuary city has not yet been met with adequate philosophical examination of that concept. This article argues that there are at least two models of how the sanctuary city ought to be understood. The first model, the wholesale model, understands the sanctuary city as a standing check against federal overreach; the city ought to refuse to participate in deportation, even when the federal government is morally correct in how and when it deports. The second model, the piecemeal model, understands the sanctuary city instead as one particular site of resistance to particular forms of federal wrongdoing. This article does not seek to vindicate one model over the other, but argues that both models raise significant philosophical worries. More philosophical attention will help us understand both what the sanctuary city is and what might be said in its defense.

Open access

Working against and with the State

From Sanctuary to Resettlement

Audrey Macklin

Abstract

A handful of Canadian church congregations provide sanctuary to failed asylum seekers. Many also participate in resettling refugees through a government program called private sponsorship. Both sanctuary and sponsorship arise as specific modes of hospitality in response to practices of exclusion and inclusion under national migration regimes. Sanctuary engages oppositional politics, whereby providers confront and challenge state authority to exclude. Refugee sponsorship embodies a form of collaborative politics, in which sponsorship groups partner with government in settlement and integration. I demonstrate how the state's perspective on asylum versus resettlement structures the relationship between citizen and state and between citizen and refugee. I also reveal that there is more collaboration in sanctuary and resistance in sponsorship than might be supposed.

Open access

Julien Brachet, Victoria L. Klinkert, Cory Rodgers, Robtel Neajai Pailey, Elieth Eyebiyi, Rachel Benchekroun, Grzegorz Micek, Natasha N. Iskander, Aydan Greatrick, Alexandra Bousiou, and Anne White