Irregular migrants tend to live in dense urban settings. Cities have become important sites in the fights for irregular migrants’ basic rights. As a consequence, irregular migrants have become an urban policy target group. Given the prominence of sanctuary cities, the study of these policies has been rather US-centric so far. Yet, cities around the world engage in the formulation and implementation of a variety of migration and citizenship policies in support of irregular migrants such as local bureaucratic membership programs, regularization programs or sanctuary city policies and practices.
In this talk, I present first results of a survey of urban immigration and citizenship policies towards irregular migrants in 95 European cities (covering all European cities with over 350,000 inhabitants). In a next step, I zoom in into two case studies of Swiss cities (Geneva and Zürich) to explain the formulation of different urban immigration and citizenship policies in support of irregular migrants: Whereas Geneva established a regularization program, Zürich struggle to create an urban ID card and sanctuary city program. In their essence, these policies show how cities contest nation state sovereignty over immigration and citizenship policy-making, which challenges both migration theory and practice.
Speaker:Dr. David Kaufmann
U of T School of Cities Post-Doctoral Fellow
University of Bern
KPM Center for Public Management