The Politics of Refuge: Sanctuary Cities, Crime, and Undocumented Immigration

  title={The Politics of Refuge: Sanctuary Cities, Crime, and Undocumented Immigration},
  author={Benjamin Gonzalez O’Brien and Loren Collingwood and Stephen Omar El-Khatib},
  journal={Urban Affairs Review},
  pages={3 - 40}
This article assesses the claim that sanctuary cities—defined as cities that expressly forbid city officials or police departments from inquiring into an individual’s immigration status—are associated with post hoc increases in crime. We employ a causal inference matching strategy to compare similarly situated cities where key variables are the same across the cities except the sanctuary status of the city. We find no statistically discernible difference in violent crime, rape, or property… 

Sanctuary Policies and City-Level Incidents of Violence, 1990 to 2010

Despite media coverage of isolated incidents of violent crime perpetuated by undocumented immigrants in cities with sanctuary policies, there is scant systematic research on the relationships between

Public Opposition to Sanctuary Cities in Texas: Criminal Threat or Immigration Threat?*

Sanctuary city policies forbid local officials and law enforcement from inquiring into residents’ immigration status. In 2017, Texas passed one of the country’s most hostile anti-sanctuary city laws

Sanctuary Cities and Their Respective Effect on Crime Rates

According to the U.S. Center for Immigration Studies (2017), cities or counties in twenty-four states declare themselves as a place of “sanctuary” for illegal immigrants. This study addresses the

Sanctuary Cities and Crime

  • Y. Otsu
  • Law
    SSRN Electronic Journal
  • 2019
A sanctuary policy is a policy that inhibits local law enforcement from cooperating with immigration authorities. Sanctuary policies have gained more attention in recent U.S. policy debates.

Framing Refuge: Media, Framing, and Sanctuary Cities

The refugee sanctuary movement in the United States has shifted to include undocumented immigrants fleeing violence and economic strife. Given the negative tenor of coverage of undocumented

From Jails to Sanctuary Planning: Spatial Justice in Santa Ana, California

Today’s immigrant rights movements bring attention to jails—some cities’ largest public safety expenditures—as primary sites for deportation operations. This article examines how these movements push

“Murderers, Rapists, and Bad Hombres”: Deconstructing the Immigration-Crime Myths

ABSTRACT Immigration control is at the center of the political debate and it is an important component of the Trump administration agenda. Restrictive immigration policies have expanded under the

Sanctuary Cities: Public Attitudes Toward Enforcement Collaboration Between Local Police and Federal Immigration Authorities

Local law enforcement has dramatically increased its cooperation with federal immigration enforcement, while other localities refuse to cooperate. Although scholars have examined how sanctuary cities

Sanctuary Cities: What Global Migration Means for Local Governments

Cities have become active participants in implementing migration policies, thereby expanding the meaning of the word “global” with regard to the activity of local governments. International movement



Cities of Refuge: Immigration Enforcement, Police, and the Insurgent Genealogies of Citizenship in U.S. Sanctuary Cities

This paper explores two trajectories of law and politics that have sought to define the appropriate responsibilities municipal police should have for the enforcement of immigration law. The first

Does Immigration Increase Homicide? Negative Evidence From Three Border Cities

Understanding the complex relationship between immigration and crime was once a core concern of American sociology. Yet the extensive post-1965 wave of immigration to the United States has done

Negotiating place, space and borders: The New Sanctuary Movement

This article examines immigration and immigrant rights through the activities of the New Sanctuary Movement (NSM). The NSM, which is led by religious activists, responds to the contradiction between

The Criminalization of Immigrants as a Racial Project

Contemporary policy responses to unauthorized immigration, we argue, reinforce racialized anxieties by (a) focusing attention on physically distinctive and economically marginalized minorities who

Does Immigration Enforcement Reduce Crime? Evidence from Secure Communities

Prior research investigates whether immigrants commit more crimes than native-born people. Yet the central policy used to regulate immigration—detention and deportation—has received little empirical

Latino immigrants’ perceptions of crime and police authorities in the United States: A case study from the Phoenix Metropolitan area

Many studies that link immigration and crime focus on assessing rates and explaining incidence. In this article we attempt to elucidate the immigrants’ fear of crime and their perceptions of U.S.


Emerging research associated with the “immigration revitalization” perspective suggests that immigration has been labeled inaccurately as a cause of crime in contemporary society. In fact, crime

Immigration Federalism: A Reappraisal

This Article identifies how the current spate of state and local regulation is changing the way elected officials, scholars, courts, and the public think about the constitutional dimensions of

The Importance of the Political in Immigration Federalism

This Article provides a systematic, empirical investigation of the genesis of state and local immigration regulations, discrediting the popular notion that they are caused by uneven demographic

Federalism, Deportation and Crime Victims Afraid to Call the Police

The article analyzes the federal versus local struggle over deportation's deterrent effect on crime reporting by unauthorized aliens. There are now 11.1 million unauthorized aliens in the U.S.,