PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Protesters say they are willing to stand down after city officials agree to stop cooperating with federal immigration enforcers.
From marches, to flooding City Hall, to setting up camp, a group known as “Occupy ICE Philadelphia” has been entrenched in Center City for the better part of the month, but that came to an end Saturday.
“We were very clear with the city that we would stay in this space until PARS collaboration came to an end,” said activist Deborah Rose.
Friday that goal was accomplished.
Mayor Jim Kenney announced that on August 31 the city will end a data-sharing agreement known as “PARS,” which enables the Federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, also known as ICE, to obtain information about immigrants in the city and make arrests.
“Because a person’s name is Lopez or some other Hispanic name, you’re going to go to the house and take people out of the home, it just makes no sense,” said Mayor Kenney on Friday. “I don’t want to be part and I never wanted to be part of this.”
Activists who celebrated Mayor Kenney’s announcement were told to pack it up and leave City Hall by 2 p.m. Saturday, which they appeared to do without a hitch.
“I’m out here to make a difference in people’s life and people’s hearts,” said Occupy ICE Philadelphia activist, Jerome Strand. “We still have a series of goals that this encampment hopes to accomplish as well as the overall coalition of Occupy ICE.”
Rather than the chaotic confrontation that occurred several weeks ago when federal agents broke up an encampment in front of the Philadelphia ICE headquarters, police kept their distance Saturday as these activists packed up, swept up, and threw out their own trash.
“We got to stick up for each other, that is all we got to do,” said another activist.
Several of the activists tell Eyewitness News that even though they are no longer camping out by City Hall, they are not going to completely disappear.
They will continue to call for the abolish of ICE, and end to the Berks Family Detention Center, and also stopping the police practice of stop and frisk.