For vulnerable migrants living in cities, the COVID-19 pandemic has created both new challenges and new opportunities. Authored by Harald Bauder and Margaret Godoy, this paper explores how policies and practices from so-called sanctuary and solidarity cities – which have long sought to protect such migrants and treat them as full members of their communities – can provide a blueprint for regional and national policies, addressing the structural issues that contribute to migrant vulnerabilities on a global scale. They first outline urban responses to protect vulnerable migrants – especially those with irregular status – before highlighting policy innovations that emulate urban sanctuary and solidarity policies and practices.
This paper is part of a series of short “think pieces” by IOM’s Migration Research and Publishing High-Level Advisers on the potential changes, impacts and implications for migration and mobility arising from COVID-19. Designed to spark thinking on policy and programmatic responses to COVID-19 as its impacts continue to emerge globally, the papers draw upon existing and new evidence and offer initial exploratory analysis and recommendations.