by Steve Tawa
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Kenney and some of Philadelphia’s most prominent legal minds gathered in Center City as part of a new alliance called Take Action Philly, or TAP.
They aim to protect undocumented immigrants from President Trump’s aggressive enforcement policies against them.
In the midst of the rhetoric, orders, and tweets from President Trump; the Philadelphia Bar Association, the city, and prominent non-profit legal aid organizations want to help immigrants and refugees.
“We have embarked in uncharted waters, where there are real concerns for the rule of law, due process, individuals’ constitutional and civil rights, as well as the threat of decreased federal and state funding,” said Deborah Gross, Bar Association Chancellor.
Mayor Kenney re-established Philadelphia’s sanctuary status on his first day in office, and he has repeatedly pushed back against President Trump’s threats to slap economic sanctions on cities that shelter undocumented immigrants.
The Mayor recalls being a ten-year old in 1968.
“It was the last time I felt like this,” he said.
He says it was the year of the Nixon election, Marth Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated, there were civil rights protests, and it was the height of the Vietnam War.
“I lived in a neighborhood that was so befuddled and confounded by all of the different things pulling and pushing them, from the older, blue-collar hard hat guys, to the young kids that were coming back in flag-draped coffins. I’ve never felt that uneasy, until this year,” said and emotional Mayor Kenney.
Mayor Kenney says Americans made it through that era.
“I know we can do it again, because there’s no choice, other than doing it again,” he said.
City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante says they are banding together to “give voice to the immigrant community and refugees.”
“One of the reasons that my family came to America is because we were drawn by the possibility of hope, that you could make something of yourself in this country. I still think that’s possible, even in this day and age,” he said.
Tulante was born in Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo), and when his family fled, he arrived in the US as an 8-year-old in 1983. His father was a political refugee, fearing that he would be killed if he stayed.
Organizers say one of the best defenses against deportation is citizenship through the naturalization process.