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Sanctuary DMV is a feminist, anti-imperialist, all-volunteer group standing in solidarity with immigrants and marginalized communities in the DMV area (DC, Maryland, and Virginia). We resist policies and policy proposals that target and aim to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and discriminate against Black, Indigenous, Muslim, Latinx, and LGBTQ+ people.

What is a sanctuary city?

A “sanctuary city” only means that there are some policies in place to limit cooperation between local police and federal immigration officials (ICE), to protect basic human and civil rights of all DC residents.

In DC, police officers should not ask anyone about their immigration status, and they should not detain any noncitizen at the request of ICE, unless the person is convicted of a serious crime and ICE has agreed, in writing, to reimburse the District for the cost of holding the person in detention. However, because there are some loopholes in our sanctuary policy and because there are so many federal agencies in DC that are not obligated to follow it, many immigrant DC residents – documented and undocumented – are being unlawfully deported.

In addition, as many immigrant-led organizations and advocacy groups have argued for years, the criminalization of immigrants and communities of color invalidates the “felons not families” narrative that past presidents have adopted on immigration. Deportation harms families, communities, and public health and safety, no matter who is targeted. We are concerned that this kind of unchecked law enforcement action will increase.

We want DC to be a sanctuary city for all of its residents which is why we take action to stand in solidarity with our city’s targeted communities. A sanctuary city should not comply with destructive immigration and registration policies. Instead, it should actively and politically protect its most vulnerable populations, including those who are immigrants, undocumented, Indigenous, Black, Muslim, Latinx, womyn, and LGBTQ+ people.