Tapestries: Interwoven voices of local and global identities


Amidst animosity, tension, and discomfort over the politics and realities of immigration in the United States, Minnesota provides reprieve. The state’s attitudes towards and infrastructure for immigrant communities are distinctly positive. Despite its reputation as a safe haven, in 2021, the state legislature declined to formally adopt the label of “Sanctuary state” proposed in both houses. Sanctuary states, localities, or policies are those that refuse to follow national, often harsh, immigration law. This paper explores the rise of the Sanctuary Movement in the United States in relation to the current, politicized understanding of Sanctuary policy. Using Hmong, Somali, and Afghan waves of immigration to Minnesota as evidence, I argue that Minnesota already promotes Sanctuary polities. With each community, state infrastructure responded to immigrant communities’ history of exit to create positive contexts of reception for individuals and families. Given Minnesota’s network of public and private resources and organizations for immigration, the legislature’s rejection of official designation as a Sanctuary state reflects merely political fears and does not prioritize social realities.

Author Biography

Rachel (she/her), originally from Denver, Colorado, is a graduating senior at Macalester College. She is an American Studies and International Studies double-major with a concentration in Human Rights & Humanitarianism. After graduation, Rachel intends to further the work of her American Studies capstone by continuing to work in the field of immigration or the non-profit sector.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License