University of the District of Columbia Law Review


Since the 1950s, the U.S. has proudly boasted itself as "a nation of immigrants," However, immigration reform is amongst the most intensely confusing, divisive, and polarizing issues in America's public square. Immigration remains front and center in the public debate across the U.S., especially since the September 11th terrorist attacks. The fear and turmoil, which ebbed and flowed since the 9/11 tragedy, reached a boiling point during the 2016 general election cycle, and ultimately the election of the 45th president, Donald J. Trump. This article examines the impact and implications of a broken federal government on America's cities which are increasingly at odds with the White House, a divided Congress, and an overwhelmed federal judiciary. There is much work to do in shaping our immigration policies an our nation's leaders must be ready, able, and willing to do it. This Article is organized into five parts. Part I (this section) provides the reader with an overview of legal issues arising from the Constitution in the immigration context. Part II provides background information on so-called "Sanctuary Cities" as a modem-day Underground Railroad, including the origins of the movement, the anatomy of Sanctuary Cities, and some key socioeconomic opportunities and challenges that occur in Sanctuary Cities. Part III addresses the special relationship between the District of Columbia and the Federal Government, while also examining the delicate balance of a Federal City asserting Sanctuary City status. Part IV covers the Separation of Powers, including an in-depth analysis of Executive Order 13768, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, and uses key precedent to evaluate the constitutionality of the Executive Order principally City of Chicago v. Sessions, City and County of San Francisco v. Trump, and City of San Antonio v. Texas, challenging 2017 Texas Senate Bill-4, which outlaws Sanctuary Cities in Texas, and California's 2017 Senate Bill 54 that confers Sanctuary State status in that jurisdiction this year. 16 The fact that two of America's largest and most politically influential states have adopted such divergent views on immigration is a clarion call for immigration reform. Finally, Part V looks at socioeconomic implications for Sanctuary Cities as they look to set policies and regulations, as well as administer health, education, and other social service programs for their residents. Moreover, this section examines how local immigrant residents are being negatively affected by emerging federal and state laws which are contrary to local municipality regulations. Part V concludes by offering some reasonable, commonsense reforms to solve this American nightmare.

First Page