Is Boston a Sanctuary City?
November 14, 2016 6:30 PM   Subscribe

According to, City Councilor Tito Jackson is pushing to make Boston a Sanctuary City, following the lead of our neighbors over the river, Cambridge and Somerville. As a Ward 9 resident, I planned to call my councilor tomorrow to urge him to support Councilor Jackson - until I saw this article in the Globe, which included Boston in a list of Sanctuary Cities. So...are we or not?

While I am entirely convinced that it's the right thing to do to become a Sanctuary City, if we are not already, I'm also worried about what's at stake should we succeed, since Trump has promised to cut off federal funding to these cities. The second part of my question is how likely is this scenario? I realize no one has a crystal ball, but the Chicago representative cited in the Tribune article seemed to think that Trump would change his mind when faced with the prospect of losing support on his infrastructure prospects. I can't tell if that's likely, and if so, if Boston would have a similar level of clout.
posted by prewar lemonade to Law & Government (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Somerville is a sanctuary city. Mayor Curtatone has made it clear that he intends to keep it that way.

Although I live in Boston proper, I don't think it's a sanctuary city, but there are some pissed off liberals around here, myself included who would fight to the end. Fuck Trump, seriously.
posted by floweredfish at 6:44 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm in Cambridge, and I'm pretty sure a lot of us would spit tacks if they tried to change that designation.

As for Boston proper, the Center for Immigration Studies map for sanctuary cities lists Boston as one, although Wikipedia does not. (I'm rather more inclined to trust CIS than Wikipedia, but hurrah citation.) The NYT also lists Boston as one, but oddly not Cambridge and Somerville.
posted by ultranos at 8:29 PM on November 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

"Sanctuary city" has no specific definition-- broadly it means a city that welcomes denizens regardless of documentation status, more narrowly it tends to mean a city's law enforcement doesn't cooperate with ICE in various ways, and most narrowly it can mean a city with specific policy to codify such, such as Somerville's Trust Act.
posted by zokni at 8:32 PM on November 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Btw, while it's not clear how realistic Trump's threat is, it's certainly not being taken emptily. I work with federal funds in a self-declared sanctuary city and people are anxious to hear what's next.
posted by zokni at 8:35 PM on November 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

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