The issue of sanctuary cities is the focus of contentious immigration debate in Massachusetts and across the country.

Tonight, Boston resident Lou Murray of the group, “Bostonians Against Sanctuary Cities”  is holding a public panel discussion on the issue. He joined WGBH News' Morning Edition host Bob Seay to discuss the panel. (Click the audio player above to listen to the entire interview.)

The list of panelists include Bristol County Sherriff Thomas Hodgson, State Rep. Geoff Diehl, Retired ICE Special Agent Walter Hempel, Jessica Vaughn, researcher for the Center for Immigration Studies and Maureen Maloney, and the mother of Matthew Denice, who was murdered by an undocumented drunk driver.

Murray says opponents of sanctuary cities haven’t been given the chance to be heard and this forum will serve that purpose. 

Boston, along with Northampton, Cambridge, Somerville and Amherst have adopted measures to protect undocumented immigrants in their jurisdictions. Three other cities across New England have done the same. But some residents in Boston fear that sanctuary city status will negatively impact their safety and quality of life. 

The forum is set to take place at #10 Elks Lodge, 248 Spring Street, West Roxbury, MA 02132. It begins at 7 p.m.

(Sanctuary city status bars local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration and customs enforcement (ICE). While the measures aren't law, the ordinance also restricts police officers from asking for legal status information, unless that person has committed a crime)