By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia City Council held a hearing today on the city’s response to “ICE holds,” in which city law enforcement voluntary detains an individual for questioning by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement authorities.
The hearing comes as the Nutter administration is planning to take action that will significantly curtail the practice.
Mayor Michael Nutter has indicated he will soon sign an executive order that will stop the Philadelphia Police Department and the prison system from honoring most ICE detainers.
Michael Resnick, Philadelphia’s director of public safety (top photo), says the only exceptions will be where an individual is convicted of a serious felony.
“The crimes we’re talking about are murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, human trafficking, rape, robbery, and where ICE has separately obtained a warrant for the individual,” Resnick told the councilmembers.
Advocates say they want an end to all ICE holds, which they say lead to distrust between immigrants and police and break up otherwise law-abiding families.
But Councilman Jim Kenney is calling the coming executive order a win.
“The administration is 99.7 percent of the way there,” he said today. Other councilmembers voiced similar support for the mayor’s initiative.
Opponents of the measure, including representatives from a group called “Pennsylvania for ICE,” say the city is too lax on enforcement.
“Accommodating those who violate our laws only encourages more lawlessness,” said one.