In the United States and Canada, a sanctuary city (French: ville sanctuaire, Spanish: ciudad santuario) is a city that limits its cooperation with the national government effort to enforce immigration law. Leaders of sanctuary cities want to reduce the fear of deportation and possible family break-up among people who are in the country illegally so that such people will be more willing to report crimes, use health and social services, and enroll their children in school. Municipal policies include prohibiting police or city employees from questioning people about their immigration status and refusing requests by federal immigration authorities to detain people beyond their release date, if they were jailed for breaking local law. Such policies can be set expressly in law (de jure) or observed in practice (de facto), but the designation "sanctuary city" does not have a precise legal definition. The Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates restrictive immigration policies, estimates that about 300 U.S. jurisdictions, including cities, counties and states, have adopted sanctuary policies.
Opponents of sanctuary cities argue that cities should assist the federal government in enforcing immigration law. Supporters of sanctuary cities argue that enforcement of federal law is not the duty of localities. Legal opinions vary on whether immigration enforcement by local police is constitutional. Studies that investigated the relationship between sanctuary status and crime have found that sanctuary policies either have no effect on crime or that sanctuary cities have lower crime rates and stronger economies than comparable non-sanctuary cities.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland, sanctuary city refers to cities that are committed to welcoming refugees, asylum seekers and others who are seeking safety. Such cities are now found in 80 towns, cities and local areas in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The emphasis is on building bridges of connection and understanding, which is done through raising awareness, befriending schemes and forming cultural connections in the arts, sport, health, education, faith groups and other sectors of society. Glasgow, Sheffield and Swansea are noted Cities of Sanctuary.
The concept of a sanctuary city goes back thousands of years. It has been associated with Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Baha'i, Sikhism, and Hinduism. In Western Civilization, sanctuary cities can be traced back to the Old Testament. The Book of Numbers commands the selection of six cities of refuge in which the perpetrators of accidental manslaughter could claim the right of asylum. Outside of these cities, blood vengeance against such perpetrators was allowed by law. In AD 392, Christian Roman emperor Theodosius I set up sanctuaries under church control. In AD 600 in medieval England, churches were given a general right of sanctuary, and some cities were set up as sanctuaries by Royal charter. The general right of sanctuary for churches in England was abolished in 1621.
Several different terms and phrases are used to describe immigrants who enter the U.S. illegally. The term alien is "considered insensitive by many" and a LexisNexis search showed that its use in reports on immigration has declined substantially, making up just 5% of terms used in 2013. Usage of the word "illegal" and phases using the word (e.g., illegal alien, illegal immigrant, illegal worker and illegal migrant) has declined, accounting for 82% of language used in 1996, 75% in 2002, 60% in 2007, and 57% in 2013. Several other phrases are competing for wide acceptance: undocumented immigrant (usage in news reports increased from 6% in 1996 to 14% in 2013); unauthorized immigrant (3% usage in 2013 and rarely seen before that time), and undocumented person or undocumented people (1% in 2007, increasing to 3% in 2013). A recent term is "illegalized immigrant".
Media outlets' policies as to use of terms differ, and no consensus has yet emerged in the press. In 2013, the Associated Press changed its AP Stylebook to provide that "Except in direct quotes essential to the story, use illegal only to refer to an action, not a person: illegal immigration, but not illegal immigrant. Acceptable variations include living in or entering a country illegally or without legal permission." Within several weeks, major U.S. newspapers such as Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and USA Today adopted similar guidance. The New York Times style guide similarly states that that the term illegal immigrant may be considered "loaded or offensive" and advises journalists to "explain the specific circumstances of the person in question or to focus on actions: who crossed the border illegally; who overstayed a visa; who is not authorized to work in this country." The style book discourages the use of illegal as a noun and the "sinister-sounding" alien. Both unauthorized and undocumented are acceptable, but the stylebook notes that the former "has a flavor of euphemism and should be used with caution outside quotation" and the latter has a "bureaucratic tone." The Washington Post stylebook "says 'illegal immigrant' is accurate and acceptable, but notes that some find it offensive"; the Post "does not refer to people as 'illegal aliens' or 'illegals,' per its guidelines.
This issue entered presidential politics in the race for the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2008. Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo ran on an anti-illegal immigration platform and specifically attacked sanctuary cities. Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney accused former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani of running it as a sanctuary city. Giuliani's campaign responded saying that Romney ran a sanctuary Governor's mansion, and that New York City is not a "haven" for undocumented immigrants.
Following the shooting death of Kathryn Steinle in San Francisco (a sanctuary city) by an illegal immigrant, Hillary Clinton told CNN that "The city made a mistake, not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported. I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on." The following day, her campaign stated: "Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years."
Trump administration agenda
The Trump administration released a list of immigration principles to Congress. The list included funding a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a crackdown on the influx of Central American minors, and curbs on federal grants to sanctuary cities. A pledge to strip "all federal funding to sanctuary cities" was a key Trump campaign theme. President Trump issued an executive order which declared that jurisdictions that "refuse to comply" with 8 U.S.C. 1373-- a provision of federal law on information sharing between local and federal authorities--would be ineligible to receive federal grants. States and cities have shown varying responses to the executive order. Thirty-three states introduced or enacted legislation requiring local law enforcement to cooperate with ICE officers and requests to hold non-citizen inmates for deportation. Other states and cities have responded by not cooperating with federal immigration efforts or showcasing welcoming policies towards immigrants. California openly refused the administration's attempts to "clamp down on sanctuary cities". A federal judge in San Francisco agreed with two California municipalities that a presidential attempt to cut them off from federal funding for not complying with deportation requests is unconstitutional. In Chicago a federal judge ruled that the Trump administration may not withhold public safety grants to sanctuary cities. These decisions have been seen as a setback to the administration's efforts to force local jurisdictions to help federal authorities with the policing of illegal immigrants.
Local officials who oppose the president's policies say that complying with federal immigration officers will ruin the trust established between law enforcement and immigrant communities. Supporters of the president's policies say that protection of immigrants from enforcement makes communities less safe and undermines the rule of law.
Georgia banned "sanctuary cities" in 2009, and in 2016 went further by requiring local governments, in order to obtain state funding, to certify that they cooperate with federal immigration officials.
Arizona, through SB 1070 (enacted in 2010), requires law enforcement officers to notify federal immigration authorities "if they develop reasonable suspicion that a person they’ve detained or arrested is in the country illegally."
Tennessee state law bars "local governments or officials from making policies that stop local entities from complying with federal immigration law." In 2017, legislation proposed in the Tennessee General Assembly would go further, withholding funding from local governments deemed insufficiently cooperative with the federal government.
The state senate passed a bill that would largely prohibit local law enforcement agencies from using their money, equipment or personnel to aid federal government action against illegal immigrants. 
In Texas no city has formally declared "sanctuary" status, but a few do not fully cooperate with federal immigration authorities and have drawn a negative response from the legislature. Bills seeking to deprive state funding from police departments and municipalities that do not cooperate with federal authorities had been introduced into the Texas Legislature several times. On February 1, 2017, Texas Governor Greg Abbott blocked funding to Travis County, Texas due to its recently implemented de facto sanctuary city policy. On May 7, 2017, Abbott signed a bill into law effectively banning sanctuary cities by charging county or city officials who refuse to work with federal officials and by allowing police officers to check the immigration status of those they detain if they choose.
The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 addressed the relationship between the federal government and local governments. Minor crimes, such as shoplifting, became grounds for possible deportation. Additionally, the legislation outlawed cities' bans against municipal workers reporting a person's immigration status to federal authorities.
Section 287(g) makes it possible for state and local law enforcement personnel to enter into agreements with the federal government to be trained in immigration enforcement and, subsequent to such training, to enforce immigration law. However, it provides no general power for immigration enforcement by state and local authorities. This provision was implemented by local and state authorities in five states, California, Arizona, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina by the end of 2006. On June 16, 2007 the United States House of Representatives passed an amendment to a United States Department of Homeland Security spending bill that would withhold federal emergency services funds from sanctuary cities. Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) was the sponsor of this amendment. 50 Democrats joined Republicans to support the amendment. The amendment would have to pass the United States Senate to become effective.
In 2007, Republican representatives introduced legislation targeting sanctuary cities. Reps. Brian Bilbray, R-Calif., Ginny Brown-Waite, R-Fla., Thelma Drake, R-Va., Jeff Miller, R-Fla., and Tom Tancredo introduced the bill. The legislation would make undocumented immigrant status a felony, instead of a civil offense. Also, the bill targets sanctuary cities by withholding up to 50 percent of Department of Homeland Security funds from the cities.
On September 5, 2007, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told a House committee that he certainly wouldn't tolerate interference by sanctuary cities that would block his "Basic Pilot Program" that requires employers to validate the legal status of their workers. "We're exploring our legal options. I intend to take as vigorous legal action as the law allows to prevent that from happening, prevent that kind of interference."
On January 25, 2017 President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the Secretary of Homeland Security and Attorney General to defund sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to comply with federal immigration law. He also ordered the Department of Homeland Security to begin issuing weekly public reports that include "a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens." Ilya Somin, Professor of Law at George Mason University, has argued that Trump's withholding of federal funding would be unconstitutional: "Trump and future presidents could use [the executive order] to seriously undermine constitutional federalism by forcing dissenting cities and states to obey presidential dictates, even without authorization from Congress. The circumvention of Congress makes the order a threat to separation of powers, as well." On April 25, 2017, U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued a nationwide preliminary injunction halting this executive order.
Whether federal or local government has jurisdiction to detain and deport illegal immigrants is a tricky and unsettled issue, because the U.S. Constitution does not provide a clear answer. Both federal and local government offer arguments to defend their authority. The issue of jurisdiction has been vigorously debated dating back to the Alien Act of 1798. Opponents of local level policing tend to use the Naturalization Clause and the Migration clause in the Constitution as textual confirmation of federal power. Because the Supremacy Clause is generally interpreted to mean that federal law takes priority over state law, the U.S. Supreme Court in the majority of cases has ruled in favor of the federal government. Certain states have been affected by illegal immigration more than others and have attempted to pass legislation that limits access by undocumented immigrants to public benefits. A notable case was Arizona's SB 1070 law, which was passed in 2010 and struck down in 2012 by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional.
States like Arizona, Texas and Nevada justify their aggressive actions as a result of insufficient efforts by the federal government to address issues like use of schools and hospitals by illegal immigrants and changes to the cultural landscape--impacts that are most visible on a local level. Ambiguity and confusion over jurisdiction is one of the reasons why local and state policies for and against sanctuary cities vary widely depending on location in the country.
A 2017 study found that sanctuary policy itself has no statistically meaningful effect on crime. The findings of the study were misinterpreted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a July 2017 speech when he claimed that the study showed that sanctuary cities were more prone to crime than cities without sanctuary policies.
According to a study by Tom K. Wong, associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, published by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank: "Crime is statistically significantly lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties. Moreover, economies are stronger in sanctuary counties – from higher median household income, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance to higher labor force participation, higher employment-to-population ratios, and lower unemployment." The study also concluded that sanctuary cities build trust between local law enforcement and the community, which enhances public safety overall. The study evaluated sanctuary and non-sanctuary cities while controlling for differences in population, the foreign-born percentage of the population, and the percentage of the population that is Latino."
Advocates of local enforcement of immigration laws argue that more regulatory local immigration policies would cause immigrants to flee those cities and possibly the United States altogether, while opponents argue that regulatory policies on immigrants wouldn't affect their presence because immigrants looking for work will relocate towards economic opportunity despite challenges living there. Undocumented migrants tend to be attracted to states with more economic opportunity and individual freedom. Because there is no reliable data that asks for immigration status, there is no way to tell empirically if regulatory policies do have an effect on immigrant presence. A study comparing restrictive counties with nonrestrictive counties found that local jurisdictions that enacted regulatory immigration policies experienced a 1-2% negative effect in employment.
Health and well-beingEdit
A preliminary study's results imply that the number of Sanctuary cities in the U.S. positively affects well-being in the undocumented immigrant population. Concerning health, a study in North Carolina found that after implementation of section 287(g), prenatal Hispanic/Latina mothers were more likely than non-Hispanic/Latina mothers to have late or inadequate prenatal care. The study's interviews indicated that Hispanics/Latinos in the section 287(g) counties had distrust in health services among other services and had fear about going to the doctor.
Laws and policies by state and cityEdit
- In Alabama, state law (Alabama HB 56) was enacted in 2011, calling for proactive immigration enforcement; however, many provisions are either blocked by the federal courts or subject to ongoing lawsuits. On January 31, 2017, William A. Bell, the mayor of Birmingham, declared the city a "welcoming city" and said that the police would not be "an enforcement arm of the federal government" with respect to federal immigration law. He also stated that the city would not require proof of citizenship for granting business licenses. The Birmingham City Council subsequently passed a resolution supporting Birmingham being a "sanctuary city".
- Following the passage of Arizona SB 1070, a state law, few if any cities in Arizona are "sanctuary cities." A provision of SB 1070 requires local authorities to "contact federal immigration authorities if they develop reasonable suspicion that a person they've detained or arrested is in the country illegally." The Center for Immigration Studies, which advocates restrictive immigration policies, labels only one city in the state, South Tucson, a "sanctuary city"; the label is because South Tucson does not honor ICE detainers "unless ICE pays for cost of detention".
- Berkeley became the first city in the United States to pass a sanctuary resolution on November 8, 1971. Additional local governments in certain cities in the United States began designating themselves as sanctuary cities during the 1980s. Some have questioned the accuracy of the term "sanctuary city" as used in the USA. The policy was first initiated in 1979 in Los Angeles, to prevent the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) from inquiring about the immigration status of arrestees. Many Californian cities have adopted "sanctuary" ordinances banning city employees and public safety personnel from asking people about their immigration status.
- According to the National Immigration Law Center, about a dozen California cities have some formal sanctuary policy, and none of the 58 California counties "complies with detainer requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement."
- Los Angeles – In 1979, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Special Order 40, barring LAPD officers from initiating contact with a person solely to determine their immigration status. However, the city frequently cooperates with federal immigration authorities. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti does not use the phrase "sanctuary city" to describe the city because the label is unclear.
- San Francisco "declared itself a sanctuary city in 1989, and city officials strengthened the stance in 2013 with its 'Due Process for All' ordinance. The law declared local authorities could not hold immigrants for immigration officials if they had no violent felonies on their records and did not currently face charges." The 2015 shooting of Kathryn Steinle provoked debate about San Francisco's "sanctuary city" policy.
- On October 5, 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that makes California a "sanctuary state". In spite of this, it does not bar local and state agencies from cooperating with ICE regarding certain illegal criminals and ICE is still free to carry out raids targeting illegal aliens within the state.
- Seaside – On March 29, 2017, Seaside became Monterey County's first sanctuary city.
- Boulder became a sanctuary city in 2017.
- Denver does not identify as a sanctuary city. The Denver Post reports: "The city doesn't have an ordinance staking out a claim or barring information-sharing with federal officials about a person's immigration status, unlike some cities. But it is among cities that don't enforce immigration laws or honor federal 'detainer' requests to hold immigrants with suspect legal status in jail past their release dates.
- Estes Park police chief Wes Kufeld stated that, "As far as day-to-day policing, people are not required to provide proof of immigration status, and our officers are not required by ICE to check immigration status, nor to conduct sweeps for undocumented individuals. So, we don’t do these things." He added that town police do assist ICE in the arrest and detainment of any illegal immigrant suspected of a felony.
- Hartford passed an ordinance providing services to all residents regardless of their immigration in 2008. Said ordinance also prohibits that police from detaining individuals based solely on their immigration status or inquiring as to their immigration status. In 2016, the ordinance was amended to declare that Hartford is a "Sanctuary City", though the term itself does not have an established legal meaning.
- In 2013, Connecticut passed a law that gives local law enforcement officers discretion to carry out immigration detainer requests, though only for suspected felons.
- On February 3, 2017, Middletown, CT declared itself a sanctuary city. This was in direct response to President Trump's executive order. Said Middletown's mayor, “We don't just take orders from the President of the United States”
- In January 2017 Miami-Dade County rescinded a policy of insisting the U.S. government pay for detention of persons on a federal list. Republican Mayor Carlos Gimenez ordered jails to "fully cooperate" with Presidential immigration policy. He said he did not want to risk losing a larger amount of federal financial aid for not complying. The mayor said Miami-Dade County has never considered itself to be a sanctuary city.
- St. Petersburg Democratic Mayor Rick Kriseman said residents from all backgrounds implored him to declare a sanctuary city. In February 2017 he blogged that, "I have no hesitation in declaring St. Petersburg a sanctuary from harmful federal immigration laws. We will not expend resources to help enforce such laws, nor will our police officers stop, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis that they may have unlawfully entered the United States." He said the county sheriff’s office has ultimate responsibility for notifying federal officials about people illegally in the city. The mayor criticized President Trump for "demonization of Muslims."
- The mayor of Atlanta, Georgia in January 2017 declared the city was a “welcoming city” and “will remain open and welcoming to all”. This statement was in response to President's Trump's executive orders related to “public safety agencies and the communities they serve”. Nonetheless, Atlanta does not consider itself to be a “sanctuary city”.
- Chicago became a "de jure" sanctuary city in 2012 when Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council passed the Welcoming City Ordinance. The ordinance protects residents' rights to access city services regardless of immigration status and states that Chicago police officers cannot arrest individuals on the basis of immigration status alone. The status was reaffirmed in 2016.
- Urbana, Illinois
- Evanston, Illinois
- On August 28, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that prohibited state and local police from arresting anyone solely due to their immigration status or due to federal detainers. Some fellow Republicans criticized Rauner for his action, claiming the bill made Illinois a sanctuary state.
- In New Orleans  the New Orleans Police Department began a new policy to "no longer cooperate with federal immigration enforcement" beginning on Feb. 28, 2016.
- A 2004 executive order prohibited state officials from inquiring about immigration status of individual seeking public assistance, but in 2011, the incoming Maine governor Paul LePage rescinded this, stating “it is the intent of this administration to promote rather than hinder the enforcement of federal immigration law”. In 2015 Governor LePage accused the city of Portland, Maine of being a sanctuary city based on the fact that “city employees are prohibited from asking about the immigration status of people seeking city services unless compelled by a court or law”, but Portland city officials did not accept that characterization.
- In 2008, Baltimore and Takoma Park are sometimes identified as sanctuary cities. However, "[m]ost local governments in Maryland – including Baltimore – still share information with the federal government." In 2016, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said that she did not consider Baltimore to be a "sanctuary city."
- Boston has an ordinance, enacted in 2014, that bars the Boston Police Department "from detaining anyone based on their immigration status unless they have a criminal warrant." Cambridge, Chelsea, Somerville, Orleans, Northampton, and Springfield have similar legislation. In August 2016, Boston Police Commissioner, William B. Evans re-issued a memo stating “all prisoners who are subject to ICE Detainers must receive equal access to bail commissioners, which includes notifying said prisoner of his or her right to seek bail.” Bail commissioners are informed of the person’s status on an ICE detainer list and may set bail accordingly.
- The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2017 that a person cannot be held solely due to an ICE detainer.
- Detroit and Ann Arbor are sometimes referred to as "sanctuary cities" because they "have anti-profiling ordinances that generally prohibit local police from asking about the immigration status of people who are not suspected of any crime." Unlike San Francisco's ordinance, however, the Detroit and Ann Arbor policies do not bar local authorities from cooperating and assisting ICE and Customs and Border Protection, and both cities frequently do so.
- Minneapolis has an ordinance, adopted in 2003, that directs local law enforcement officers "not to 'take any law enforcement action' for the sole purpose of finding undocumented immigrants, or ask an individual about his or her immigration status." The Minneapolis ordinance does not bar cooperation with federal authorities: "The city works cooperatively with the Homeland Security, as it does with all state and federal agencies, but the city does not operate its programs for the purpose of enforcing federal immigration laws. The Homeland Security has the legal authority to enforce immigration laws in the United States, in Minnesota and in the city."
- New York City (see also illegal immigration to New York City)
Among the municipalities which are considered sanctuary cities are Asbury Park, Camden, East Orange, Jersey City, Linden, New Brunswick, Newark, North Bergen, Plainfield, Trenton and Union City. Those with specific executive orders made by mayors or resolution by municipal councils are:
- Jersey City
- East Orange
- Prospect Park
- Union City
- The state of North Carolina currently restricts any city or municipality from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration and customs enforcement officials. There are therefore no official sanctuary cities in the state. A bill, under consideration as of March 2017, is entitled Citizens Protection Act of 2017 or HB 63. Under the new provisions, the state would be able to deny bail to illegal immigrants for whom Immigration and Customs Enforcements (ICE) has issued a detainer; allow the state to withhold tax revenues from cities who are not in compliance with the statewide immigration regulations; and encourage tipsters to identify municipalities which violate these laws.
- Cincinnati's mayor declared the city a sanctuary city on January 30, 2017 in response to a federal executive order limiting immigration issued three days earlier.
- State law passed in 1987: "Oregon Revised Statute 181.850, which prohibits law enforcement officers at the state, county or municipal level from enforcing federal immigration laws that target people based on their race or ethnic origin, when those individuals are not suspected of any criminal activities.
- Beaverton city council passed a resolution in January 2017 stating, in part, "The City of Beaverton is committed to living its values as a welcoming city for all individuals ...regardless of a person's ... immigration status" and that they would abide by Oregon state law of not enforcing federal immigration laws.
Toronto was the first city in Canada to declare itself a sanctuary city, with Toronto City Council voting 37–3 on February 22, 2013 to adopt a formal policy allowing undocumented migrants to access city services. Hamilton, Ontario declared itself a sanctuary city in February 2014 after the Hamilton City Council voted unanimously to allow undocumented immigrants to access city-funded services such as shelters, housing and food banks. In response to US President Donald Trump's Executive Order 13769, the city council of London, Ontario voted unanimously to declare London a sanctuary city in January 2017 with Montreal doing the same in February 2017 after a unanimous vote.
While Vancouver is not a sanctuary city, it adopted an "Access to City Services without Fear" policy for residents that are undocumented or have an uncertain immigration status in April 2016. The policy does not apply to municipal services operated by individual boards, including services provided by the Vancouver Police Department, Vancouver Public Library, or Vancouver Park Board.
In the United Kingdom, sanctuary cities provide services – such as housing, education, and cultural integration – to asylum seekers (i.e. persons fleeing one country and seeking protection in another). The movement began in Sheffield in the north of England in 2005. It was motivated by a national policy adopted in 1999 to disperse asylum seekers to different towns and cities in the UK. In 2009, the city council of Sheffield drew up a manifesto outlining key areas of concern and 100 supporting organizations signed on.
A city's status as a place of sanctuary is not necessarily a formal governmental designation. The organization City of Sanctuary encourages local grassroots groups throughout the UK and Ireland to build a culture of hospitality towards asylum seekers.
Glasgow is a noted sanctuary city in Scotland. In 2000 the city council accepted their first asylum seekers relocated by the Home Office. The Home Office provided funding to support asylum seekers but would also forcibly deport them ("removal seizures") if it was determined they could not stay in the UK. As of 2010 Glasgow had accepted 22,000 asylum seekers from 75 different nations. In 2007, local residents upset by the human impact of removal seizures, organized watches to warn asylum seekers when Home Office vans were in the neighborhood. They also organized protests and vigils which led to the ending of the removal seizures.
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