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“A Responsible and Committed City”: Montréal’s Sanctuary Policy

posted on 2023-03-13, 19:48 authored by Idil AtakIdil Atak

In February 2017, Montréal committed to allowing non-status migrants to access some municipal programs and services without fear of being arrested, detained, and removed from Canada. This chapter provides a critical analysis of the emergence and the operation of Montréal’s sanctuary city policy, formally known as “Responsible and Committed City.” A reflection is offered on whether and to what extent the local policy effectively allows non-status migrants to access municipal services without fear of being arrested and deported. It is argued that Montréal’s sanctuary city policy has emerged as a top-down approach, in reaction to the punitive measures against refugees and non-status migrants by the United States and globally. Although the City has shown a genuine commitment to improve non-status migrants’ lives, it has been difficult to translate positive municipal initiatives into effective implementation. A main barrier has been the limited jurisdictional power and authority of the City in migration matters. In addition, Montréal’s policy is seriously curtailed by the municipal police, who treat non-status migrants as criminals.




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