UMass Law Symposium to Focus on Immigration, Sanctuary Cities
Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone have had some interesting comments about each other this week, as the two come down on opposite sides of the sanctuary city debate. This coming Thursday, the two will have the chance to discuss it face-to-face in Dartmouth.
The University of Massachusetts School of Law will be hosting an Immigration Symposium this coming Thursday, April 6. Hodgson and Curtatone are both panelists for the symposium, as well as Newton Councilwoman Emily Norton, and Massachusetts Immigration and Refugee Advocacy Coalition Federal Policy Director Sarand Sekhavat.
The keynote speaker will be former Congressman Barney Frank.
Every year, the school's Student Bar Assocation organizes a symposium on a major issue. This year's choice was immigration, because it is such a hot-button issue. UMass Dartmouth spokesman John Hoey told WBSM News the students will research the issue, learning the legal cases involved, and the symposium is a way to get outside voices involved in the discussion and debate.
"What they'll actually do is produce a UMass Law Review from the conversation that's going to be taking place that day," Hoey said.
There will be a panel of sanctuary cities, and another on refugees.
Hodgson and Curtatone will certainly be a draw. Earlier this week, Hodgson testified before Congress, suggesting that federal authorities should charge officials who pledge harbor and conceal illegal immigrants in so-called sanctuary cities, such as Somerville. Curtatone responded with Facebook post in which he told Hodgson "come get me," and told Hodgson "by all means, expose yourself as the sort of jack-booted thug who wants to jail your political opponents for made-up offenses."
"Well, we'll see what happens," Hoey said of any potential animosity between Hodgson and Curtatone. "I think they're two individuals who believe strongly in their views, and that's what the free exchange of ideas is all about. I think they both appreciate the opportunity to speak their mind."
The symposium is open to the public, and Hoey said they expect "a significant crowd." He said he's not worried about any potential protests or unruly behavior related to the topics.
"We'll keep an eye on that, but I believe the format is such that it will produce thoughtful dialogue," Hoey said. "It's an opportunity for everybody to learn more about the issue and people's views on the issue, and especially the legal issues that are involved in this."
The full schedule for the symposium is as follows:
9 a.m. - 10 a.m. Alumni panel
10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. - Sanctuary City Panel
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. - Refugee Panel
12:30 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. - Keynote: Former Congressman Barney Frank
1:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Closing remarks be UMass Law Review staff