Noora Aljabi

Department of Architecture

American Sanctuary: Architecture & (in)Justice

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, was established in 2003 to “promote homeland security and public safety” through the enforcement of federal immigration laws. However, their aggressive methods have perpetuated a long history of harsh and discriminatory immigration policies in the United States. In response, many have joined a growing Sanctuary Movement to protect the rights of their undocumented neighbors.

Although the notion of sanctuary in the U.S. has centered on immigration policies, it should also be considered as an architectural and spatial phenomenon. The spaces in which ICE raids take place, such as the home, the workplace, and the courthouse, have been complicit in allowing for the transgression of rights during immigration arrests. This thesis tests the limits of architectural agency to resist this injustice as part of the Sanctuary Movement—not by providing solutions, but rather by speculating on the many ways that architecture can participate in producing social change by engaging with other disciplines, such as Law.

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