Date of Award

Spring 2018

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Public Policy and Law

First Advisor

Abigail Williamson

Second Advisor

Rachel Moskowitz


This thesis explores how local governments, and specifically police departments are responding to the federal immigration rhetoric and policy changes. Previous literature argues that the national government’s role in immigration will strongly shape how local governments respond and how they will change their policies. In the first section, this thesis examines sanctuary cities across the United States and uses a specific data set of sanctuary cities to determine their status and their changes under the new administration. I find that despite the constant change on the national level and the anti-immigrant rhetoric, localities around the United States are pursuing accommodating practices as well as restrictive practices, illustrating a deviation from previous literature. I continue my analysis with a case study in Connecticut and New Hampshire, to discover how practices in police departments may differ in states that have significantly different policies toward immigration and accommodation. Overall, I find that despite the differences in both Connecticut and New Hampshire, police departments on the local level are not experiencing formal changes in their departments despite the significant changes that have developed on the national level. This also demonstrates a divergence from previous literature that maintains that the national government’s changes will have a significant effect on local policymaking.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy and Law.