Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced Friday that the city will stop sharing their real-time arrest database with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) following protests at City Hall, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I cannot in good conscience allow the agreement to continue,” the Democrat mayor said, adding "We’re not going to provide them with information so they can go out and round people up."
Kenny's decision means the city will not renew a contract with the agency that expires at the end of August.
The decision comes after months of consultation with community groups, lawyers and immigrant advocates, and follows weeks of tumultuous protests by anti-ICE demonstrators, who on Wednesday took over and held a City Hall stairway.
A formal announcement is scheduled for Friday afternoon at City Hall. ICE officials were informed Thursday in an emailed letter from City Solicitor Marcel Pratt.
Kenney said he had grown increasingly concerned that ICE was using the database “in inappropriate ways,” including to conduct investigations of undocumented immigrants in Philadelphia who had not broken any other laws. -Philly.com
“How anyone can define this as making America great again is beyond me,” the mayor said.
A noted sanctuary city, the Trump administration has attempted to cut federal funding for the city, only to be blocked by a judge.
The PARS database contains anyone who interacts with law enforcement, including arrests, victims and witnesses - which Philadelphia will now exclude ICE from.
City officials justified their decision after what they said was multiple considerations (via Philly.com)
— At a July 18 meeting, ICE officials conceded that the agency’s use of PARS can result in immigration enforcement actions against city residents who have not been accused or convicted of a crime.
— ICE claims it was impractical to adopt procedures that would prevent agents from arresting law-abiding residents for civil immigration violations when the agency acted on information found in PARS.
— Each day, ICE probes PARS to find people who were born outside the United States, then targets them for investigation, even though the database does not list their immigration status.
— The agency produced no information to allay city officials’ concerns about the profiling of residents by race, ethnicity, or national origin.
— ICE officials said they do not audit or monitor the agency’s use of PARS.
Philadelphia and ICE entered into their contract in 2008, according to city solicitor Marcel Pratt. In Thursday's termination letter, Pratt said the contract "has created the false perception that the city is willing to be an extension of ICE," adding "It is not in the best interests of the city and its residents for the city to acquiesce to that perception."...