Doctoral Candidate at the Graduate School of North American Studies.
Screenwriting student at the German Academy of Film and Television
Humboldt Universität Berlin
Content Author for Engly – Englisch lernen für die Schule
Intern at the Goethe Institut Kolumbien, Bogotá
Freelance writer for tip Berlin, Berliner Zeitung
In the United States, the regulation of immigration is currently being devolved from the federal to the local level via policy programs and data sharing, while the nation-state continues to have the final say on who is allowed into the country. At the same time, a convergence of criminal and civil law has led to what legal scholars call "crimmigration", leading to the increased criminalization of migrants with and without papers. Cities are under increasing pressure to "react" to this issue, with some choosing to aggressively reinforce federal immigration policing on the local level, and some positioning themselves against this trend by limiting the cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement. These cities are frequently referred to as "Sanctuary Cities".
Definitions of which populations are deemed "risky", and which are "deserving" of protection in local and national "communities" are constantly being negotiated in front of this political backdrop. These negotiations are made on a daily basis by local law enforcement and (non-)governmental service providers. The framework guiding this distinction emerges from conflicting ideals of economic efficiency, national security, and civil liberties, and is based on different conceptions of "social cohesion", which affects ideas about membership in society on different governance levels.
In the scope of my doctoral thesis, I would like to conduct a comparative qualitative case study in order to examine how welcoming or sanctuary cities’ "conditional welcoming frameworks" define which migrants are deemed "safe", and "desirable", and which are considered "risky" and thus in need of punitive control.