At an uncertain time for immigration policy in the U.S., sanctuary cities are the focus of an Albany Law symposium tonight.
Albany Law School and its student-led Albany Law Review are hosting the discussion with four experts, including Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan.
Panelist Dina Francesca Haynes is a Professor of Law at New England School of Law in Boston. "There are cities and states around the country that are deciding whether to or have already adopted what some people call sanctuary jurisdiction policies. They're trying to opt out of being what they would consider commandeered by the federal government to become agents of federal immigration enforcement policies. So the discussion today is about sanctuary city policies and about the attempts of the federal government through the executive order to punish cities, towns, states that have adopted sanctuary policies."
Albany Law Professor Andy Ayers is moderating the talk. "I think a lot of people don't know what the term means because there really is no agreed on meaning for the term. It can mean detaining or not detaining non-citizens. It can mean cooperating with federal enforcement authorities. It can mean providing some sort of affirmative support to immigrants, like providing layers for people who are facing deportation, or sometimes it can just be a moral statement: you declare yourself a sanctuary jurisdiction because you want to send a message, so it can mean all of that and more.”
The Sheehan administration emailed a statement defining Albany's position, saying Albany “has been and will continue to be a sanctuary city.”
- “Since my executive order was issued in April of 2017, our position has been reaffirmed by the federal courts, and the President’s actions have been met with overwhelming resistance. Albany has been and will continue to be a sanctuary city – a place where residents and visitors alike can seek assistance and services without the threat of being asked about their immigration status.”
Other cities aren't prepared to claim the moniker. Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse: "Cohoes is certainly not prepared to be a sanctuary city. We could never be a city that could ensure that everybody who is coming to live here is coming here for all of the right reasons. We don't have those type of resources. We'd never wanna open up our city knowing that we can't guarantee that we could provide the best safety for our citizens."
The symposium is free and open through 8 p.m. to the public and includes an audience Q&A. A reception will follow.