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Sanctuary Cities, Communities, and Organizations

A Nation at a Crossroads

Melvin Delgado

Publication Date - 26 September 2018

ISBN: 9780190862343

296 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

The text provides a comprehensive and up-to-date view of the national issue that promises to continue to stay in the public glare during 2018 and beyond.


The term "sanctuary city" gained a new level of national recognition during the 2016 United States presidential election, and immigration policies and debates have remained a top issue since the election of Donald Trump. The battle over immigration and deportation will be waged on many fronts in the coming years, but sanctuary cities - municipalities that resist the national government's efforts to enforce immigration laws - are likely to be on the front lines for the immediate future, and social workers and others in the helping professions have vital roles to play. In this book, Melvin Delgado offers a compelling case for the centrality of sanctuary cities' cause to the very mission and professional identity of social workers and others in the human services and mental health professions. The text also presents a historical perspective on the rise of the sanctuary movements of the 1970s and 2000s, thereby giving context to the current environment and immigration debate. Sanctuary Cities, Communities, and Organizations serves as a helpful resource for human service practitioners, academics, and the general public alike.


  • Serves as the first serious, academic book to address the subject of sanctuary cities in the U.S.
  • Provides a historical, current, and projected look into the future look at the topic of those who are undocumented in the U.S.
  • Appeals to an array of audiences, from human service practitioners to the general public

About the Author(s)

Melvin Delgado, PhD, is Professor in the School of Social Work at Boston University. Dr. Delgado has over 40 years of scholarship, research, and practice experience focused on urban population groups, with the Latino community as a specific focus. He has addressed a variety of social issues and needs, and published numerous articles and 30 books on urban community practice topics. Dr. Delgado is currently the editor of Oxford University Press's Social Justice and Youth Community Practice Series.


"The strength of the book lies in the timely examples it employs. Delgado's ability to align sanctuary cities with global and historical movements for social justice remove the stigma portrayed by media. He provides a concise and comprehensive history of immigration and the drivers for the sanctuary movement." -- Esther A. Ayers, Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare

"This book is very relevant to the daily news stream. Its case illustrations present the complexity and variation among localities that try to protect the unauthorized immigrants. It is a handy reference on immigration and the sanctuary movement written in a conversational but not very engaging style. It will be useful to activists, clergy, and organizers." -- CHOICE

"Sanctuaries don't just happen. They are created by human beings when threats to safety or survival occur. In the past decade, the use of sanctuary cities and organizations has grown. Were the threats natural disasters or dangerous creatures, sanctuary movements would not be politically laden. But, as Delgado points out, it is the intensified immigration enforcement practices-from raids and arrests to detention and deportation-that have driven the growth and prominence, and vilification, of sanctuary cities, communities, and organizations. At the heart of sanctuary is compassion, an emotion that spurs us to help. Delgado's compassionate book does just that." Luis H. Zayas, PhD, Dean and Robert Lee Sutherland Chair in Mental Health and Social Policy, Steve Hicks School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Austin

"Who else but Melvin Delgado could have written such a rich and provocative book about such a timely and essential moment in American history? A book that deftly integrates research and practice, science and history, balance and advocacy? A book that shines a powerful light on the Sanctuary City response to the dehumanizing forces that constitute the criminalization of immigration? Only Melvin Delgado could have written this complex and powerful text, and I am much the wiser for it." Rich Furman, PhD, MSW, Professor of Social Work, University of Washington Tacoma

"Sanctuary status has become a 21st-century sociopolitical flashpoint. The concept has historical, political, organizational, and personal dimensions that deserve thoughtful and comprehensive inquiry. Dr. Delgado's analysis provides a basis for critical thinking and development of an in-depth understanding of the complex dynamics associated with the sanctuary concept." Betty Garcia, PhD, Professor Emerita, California State University, Fresno

"Sanctuary Cities, Communities, and Organizations: A Nation at a Crossroads is an excellent and important book written by Melvin Delgado, professor in the School of Social Work at Boston University... In this political climate, the Sanctuary movement is more important than ever before in fighting for the rights of unauthorized immigrants. Social workers and group workers are in a critical position to advance this movement and stay true to their ethical values and mission of social justice, human rights, social action, diversity, and inclusiveness. This is a must-read book for social work practitioners including group workers, policymakers, researchers, and academics, as well as anyone interested in immigrant rights." -- Social Work with Groups

Table of Contents


    Section 1: Grounding Sanctuary Cities
    Chapter 1: Overview
    Chapter 2: Brief Historical Overview of Immigration in the United States
    Chapter 3: Cities, Immigrants, and the Undocumented
    Chapter 4: Who Are the Unauthorized?

    Section 2: Sanctuary Cities, Communities, Organizations, and Homes
    Chapter 5: Definition, History, Demographics, and Boundaries of Sanctuary Cities
    Chapter 6: Geographical Location of Sanctuary Designations
    Chapter 7: Sanctuary Organizations
    Chapter 8: Case Illustrations: Boston, Los Angeles, and San Francisco

    Section 3: Where to Now?
    Chapter 9: Supporting the Sanctuary City Movement
    Chapter 10: The Evolution of a National Discourse on the Sanctuary Cities Movement


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