By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia’s immigrant community took a stand today against a bill passed by Congress last week that would punish sanctuary cities who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration control officials.
The measure would penalize cities like Philadelphia that refuse to hold undocumented persons for Immigration and Customs Enforcement unless the feds produce a warrant.
“We need to end the criminalization of our communities,” Blanca Pacheco of New Sanctuary Movement said.
Pacheco was on the forefront of the effort to convince Mayor Michael Nutter to end I.C.E holds. He signed an executive order last year. Her group and others like Juntos and PICC say I.C.E hold policies force undocumented people underground.
Jennifer Rodriquez runs the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs.
“Immigrants are less likely to report crimes if they fear deportation,” Rodriquez said.
Democratic Mayoral Candidate Jim Kenney says if elected he’d also issue an order refusing I.C.E holds. Proponents of the federal bill say American cities should not promote illegal immigration.
Republican Candidate for Mayor Melissa Murray Bailey issued the following statement:
“Plain and simple there should not be a bureaucratic executive order in place that orders the Philadelphia police to release an individual here illegally, that could have been previously convicted of a violent crime, multiple drunken driving violations, or any other number of crimes that endangers the people of our city.”