Welcoming the stranger in Trump’s America: Notes on the everyday processes of constructing and enduring sanctuary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Geographers have begun to explore the concept of ‘immigrant welcome’ as a framework for understanding the tension between spontaneous social support for immigrants and refugees and their subsequent restriction and criminalization by states. Overlooked in the emerging discourse on immigrant welcome is the rich literature in feminist geography that views the everyday practices of endurance, care and social reproduction as essential to, but often hidden within, more traditional, political and economic analyses of power. By focusing on the everyday practices of welcome within sanctuary church activism, I argue for more attention to the energy-intense work that is often excluded from official media and academic accounts, yet which is essential to understanding what makes welcome function or fail. I draw upon one in-depth case study of a sanctuary church in Ohio, where a woman has been living for a year and a half in public defiance of her deportation order. In addition to contextualizing this specific case within the broader policy and immigrant rights landscape, I focus on the spatial, material and relational processes that participants implemented to construct a ‘welcoming’ environment as well as observe the ways in which welcome fails to live up to its imagined potential. The case study provides important grounded insights into the material, relational and emotional processes of enduring sanctuary as a form of resistance to the US deportation regime and enduring sanctuary itself as an intensive sociospatial form of existence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-183
Number of pages19
JournalHospitality and Society
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Deportation defense campaign
  • Ethnography
  • Immigrant welcome
  • Radical hospitality
  • Religious activism
  • Sanctuary church
  • Spaces of refuge
  • Undocumented immigration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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