City of Philadelphia Ends Controversial Contract With ICE; Expands Its “Sanctuary City” Status

City of Philadelphia Ends Controversial Contract With ICE; Expands Its “Sanctuary City” Status
As the Trump administration continues to attack immigrant communities, the city of brotherly love is once again on the vanguard of protecting immigrant rights by limiting ICE’s access to its databases.

The city of Philadelphia has taken a historic step towards limiting Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) arsenal for hunting down immigrants and tearing apart families. Mayor Jim Kenney has announced the end to ICE’s access to the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS) criminal justice database, and, with that, has expanded the protections afforded to the immigrant community of Philadelphia.

The controversial contract that allowed ICE access to this city-operated database, which was enacted in 2008, has been a long standing issue within our city’s immigrant community as it has been used by ICE to racially profile our people and decimate our community with its gestapo style tactics.  By ending ICE’s access to PARS, we are effectively reducing their ability to disappear our loved ones and tear apart our families. We are one of the first, if not the first city in the entire country to expand the meaning of “sanctuary” and are once again on the vanguard of immigrant rights by protecting our community and their data.

This would not have been possible had it not be for the labor, organizing, and advocacy being done by community members who have been directly impacted by ICE’s hate and violence for years.

Today Philly has shown once again it is not afraid to do what is right for our communities. We now serve as a real beacon of light to other cities across the country who may be asking themselves ‘What more can I do to protect families who are being torn apart?’ Ending ICE’s access to PARS helps protect some of our families from the grips of deportation and helps to ensure the city isn’t complicit in aiding ICE todo so. We look forward to building more policies together with the city to further protect our loved ones and to expand  Philadelphia’s Sanctuary City status.” said Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos.

A recent report by Propublica and the Philadelphia Inquirer named Philadelphia’s ICE field office as the most aggressive in the country.  Just months ago, close to 50 people were picked up by ICE in a 6 day massive raid. Meaning 50 families were torn apart at the hands of Philadelphian ICE agents. ICE has already admitted to abusing its access to PARS and using racial profiling as well as collateral damage to terrorize our communities. By ending the PARS contract, the city has aided in putting up a line of defence for those who are most impacted in the wake of the terrors ICE has been committing.

Ending the PARS contract is a powerful step towards protecting the lives and the sanctity of immigrant families in Philadelphia. Juntos looks forward to working with the city to continue fighting for the rights and protection of not only of the immigrant community, but all marginalized communities as well.