February 12, 2019

Sanctuary Cities: Legitimate Law Enforcement Policy or Rogue Action?


May 19, 2017

National Press Club, Washington, D.C.

About this Program

The President’s immigration-related Executive Orders have greatly expanded the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration enforcement priorities. As a result, the concept of “sanctuary cities” has again gained national attention. While the modern use of this term does not have a precise definition, it refers to a variety of ways in which local and state jurisdictions may limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities. The consequences of implementing sanctuary policies can have a profound effect on the local jurisdiction and the immigrant population residing within its boundaries. This panel will explore a variety of topics related to the concept of “sanctuary cities” in the context of current-day immigration enforcement, such as how sanctuary policies vary among jurisdictions, the impact on local policing, potential reprisals against sanctuary cities including the loss of federal funding, the constitutionality of voluntary or obligated cooperation with federal immigration authorities and whether sanctuary cities ultimately create safer and more prosperous communities.


  • Betsy Cavendish, General Counsel to Mayor Muriel Bowser
  • J. Thomas Manger, Chief of Police, Montgomery County Police Department; President, Major Cities Chiefs Association
  • Chad R. Mizelle, Counsel to the Deputy Attorney General, USDOJ
  • Michael Neifach, Jackson Lewis PC; Former General Counsel, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Paromita Shah, National Immigration Project
  • Tracy Short, Prinicpal Legal Advisor, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Michele Waslin, American Immigration Council
  • Moderator Karen T. Grisez, Special Counsel, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP; Special Advisor, ABA Commission on Immigration


Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice

Program Materials