On March 12, 2014 the city of Philadelphia, for the first time ever in it’s history, held public City Council hearings on the issue of local police collaborating with federal immigration agents and the use of ICE Holds. It was an empowering day when our community marched from South Philadelphia all the way to Center City and slowly filled City Council Chambers and began speaking out against this unjust system in place in our city. These historic hearings come after months of hard work from our coalition partners and also as a result of the many years of hard work on behalf of many different organizations in the city of Philadelphia. We should all be extremely proud of the great work we are all doing for immigrant communities in the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection.
On April 30th, 2014, Juntos as part of the Philadelphia Family Unity Network (PFUN), witnessed the signing of the most progressive policy in the country, which in essence will end the enforcement of ICE holds in our city. This moment represents years of organizing, coalition building, and hard work by community groups across Philadelphia against immoral deportation policies. It also represents successful partnerships with then Mayor Nutter’s administration and City Council, who have worked alongside our community organizations to make Philadelphia a truly welcoming city.
Philadelphia police and prison staff have been instructed to ignore ICE holds, and not to contact ICE regarding the release of an individual from the criminal system. ICE holds have been removed from the prison system database. This policy goes further to protect the rights of Philadelphia residents than any other policy of any other major city in the country.
This sends a clear message to this nation and to then President Obama that Philadelphia will no longer participate in the process of back channeling our families, friends and neighbors into a mass deportation system without due process and accountability and that local governments can and will take a stand against the separation of our families. We are proud that Philadelphia is leading the way on dismantling the deportation machine and in truly becoming a welcoming city for our communities.
We would like to thank every community leader, who despite the risk and pain, worked with us for years to defend our families and the right to remain in our communities. We have learned from each other, grown, shared our stories, cried, marched, put our bodies on the line, built power, and then…WE WON!
Thank you to everyone who made this possible. #not1more
Juntos Community Leaders and Staff
PFUN supporters: ACANA, ACLU PA, Asian Americans United, AFRICOM, Boat People SOS Delaware Valley, Coalition of Labor Union Women, Concilio, Congreso de Latinos Unidos, The Council on American Islamic Relations, Decarcerate PA, FAVOR International, HIAS Pennsylvania, Media Mobilizing Project, National Day Laborers Organizing Network, Philadelphia Student Union, Women Against Abuse Legal Center and Women Organized Against Rape.