Just before the June 30 deadline, Philadelphia officials have set out to prove that the city’s policies on immigration don’t violate a federal law against “sanctuary cities.” The law, 8 U.S.C. 1373, states that any policy that prevents the of sharing immigration statuses with federal agents is an against federal law.
With $1.67 million at stake, Philadelphia officials are holding on to their bid for the federal funds by holding to the fact that the city does not actively collect immigration information.
As City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante stated, “In practice, Philadelphia’s policies result in information-sharing with the federal government about criminal suspects or detainees in the City’s custody,” he said, “And in the protection of confidential information about individuals who are of no criminal concern.”
The deadline for proof of compliance was issued on April 21st where the Department of Justice confirmed that the plan of the department and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is to penalize cities that don’t cooperate through the channel of federal funding.
But Mayor Kenney has shown his dedication to the immigrant community in Philadelphia by saying, “I know this is a very scary time, and there are a lot of rumors flying around. I will treat you like any other citizen of this city.”
Doubling-down that the city’s policies are legal, reiterated that the city’s sanctuary policies date to 2001, under Mayor Nutter and Police Commissioner John Timoney, and that they have not had to change policies on immigration and that their laws are to protect the rights of every resident, no matter their immigration status.
“We can’t imagine the federal government having interest in someone who’s law-abiding,” Tulante said.