As promised, Mayor Jim Kenney on his first day in office issued an executive order to bring back Philadelphia’s “sanctuary city” status and end cooperation between city agencies and federal immigration authorities.
“Executive Order 5-16 states that city authorities will not cooperate with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests for undocumented citizens who are arrested and would have otherwise been released from custody, unless the individual has committed a first or second degree felony involving violence,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.
Immigrant activists with the group Juntos praised the move.
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“This action to protect new Philadelphians comes at a time when ICE is organizing nationwide raids, terrorizing our communities and shattering lives,” said Juntos executive director Erika Almiron in a statement. “It is imperant now, more than ever, that the City of Philadelphia protects its residents.”
Mayor Michael Nutter ended city cooperation with ICE in 2014, but last month he reversed course and issued an order widening the scope of cases in which the city would cooperate with ICE.
The new order expanded the categories of cases to the following: when the person is suspected of terrorism or espionage; has been convicted of felonies, such as murder, rape, robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm; is known to be a member of a criminal street gang; or if the person being released had prior convictions of any of those serious felonies.
Kenney vowed to undo the change as soon as it was announced that Nutter was considering it.
Other executive orders issued by Kenney Monday included:
-Establishing the office of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer
-Creating the Economic Opportunity Cabinet to work with the Commerce Director and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, all directed to oversee “city-wide goals surrounding the participation of minority, women, and disabled businesses in city contracts.”
-Re-establishing the office of Chief Integrity Officer
-Creating an Office of Planning and Development within the Mayor’s Office and a Director of Planning and Development, as approved by a 2015 voter ballot. The Office of Housing and Community Development will be dissolved and moved into the new office.
-Creating the office of the Chief Administrative Officer