PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced Friday that the city will not renew its PARS agreement with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency. This comes as the mayor will meet with protesters today who are calling for an end to the agreement.
The agreement allows ICE agents to access the Philadelphia Police Department’s Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System.
Kenney stated that ICE violated the agreement by targeting undocumented immigrants who did not commit crimes. Kenney added that ICE admitted this during meetings with city officials.
“For some time now we have been concerned that ICE uses PARS in inappropriate ways, including to conduct investigations that result in immigration enforcement against law-abiding Philadelphia residents,” said Kenney said in a statement. “My Administration engaged in dialogue with ICE in recent weeks about its use of PARS data, and rather than allay these concerns, ICE officials in fact confirmed many of them. Such practices sow fear and distrust in Philadelphia’s great immigrant community, and make it more difficult for our Police Department to solve crimes. I cannot in good conscience allow the agreement to continue.”
Dozens of people have been protesting and demanding this for about a month. They started at ICE headquarters in Center City and have now set up an encampment outside of City Hall, saying they will be here until Kenney decides not to renew the PARS agreement.
That system gives ICE agents in real-time access to anyone detained by police, even if that person is not charged with a crime or is in custody over a traffic violation.
The system records the person’s place of birth and address in the Philadelphia area.
Protesters say the agreement and access to the PARS system makes it easy for ICE agents to locate and find undocumented immigrants in the city. They cite this as the reason why Philadelphia’s ICE is one of the most active in the country.
“Enough information is shared that makes it really easy for ICE to come into our city, target one person, but then do a collateral roundup and roundup as many people as they can, assuming that people in close proximity of undocumented people are also undocumented,”
The PARS agreement expires on Aug. 31.