By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Immigration has long been a sore point between Philadelphia and Washington, but the remarks attributed to President Donald Trump have underscored the divide.

Mayor Jim Kenney denounced the president’s sentiments, in a statement, as racist. His director of immigrant affairs, Miriam Enriquez, says the administration wants local immigrant communities to know they are welcome here.

“The president’s sentiments on those countries are by no means how the mayor or administration feels about those countries. It’s actually the complete opposite,” she said.

Sen. Pat Toomey distanced himself from the remarks, saying in a statement he hopes the president retracts the suggestion, attributed to him, that America should not want immigrants from countries which he was accused of describing disparagingly.

But several others have called the remarks, even if not in the vulgar language reported, part of a pattern. Sen. Bob Casey says the pattern dates back decades.

Congressman Ryan Costello laments recurring attacks on immigrants.

“I wish that this president actually had a better appreciation for the role immigration has played in building this country to what it is today,” he said.

Sundrop Carter, of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, says there’s a way to show they disagree with the president.

“By passing a clean DREAM Act and in fact welcoming immigrants, not just saying they welcome immigrants,” she said.

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