Philadelphia Implements Landmark Progressive Immigration Policy

Dan Staggs

Last week, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order that Philadelphia police will no longer hold detainees for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials, unless the detainee has committed a violent felony and ICE obtains a judicial warrant. Because detainees accused of committing violent felony offenses are generally sent to state prison rather than city jail, immigration advocates have praised Nutter's move as a de facto end to deportations of Philadelphia's immigrant population.  At a time when activists around the country are rallying to demand a moratorium on deportation, Philadelphia's policy stands as one of the most progressive in the United States. CBS Philly reports: Nutter says the new policy does not mean the city will be soft on crime. He says anyone who breaks the law will be prosecuted and, if they are convicted, they will be punished. “The executive order does not protect criminals from the criminal justice system,” says Nutter, “it simply protects innocent individuals from in effect being punished when doing the right thing and cooperating with us to find and arrest real criminals.” Immigration advocates claim fear of ICE holds kept many in the immigrant community from reporting crime and cooperating with police. They call the order a win. “It’s been a long fight,” says Erika Almiron, executive director of Juntos. “We need to celebrate and then we need to get focused on how this is implemented.”

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Dan Staggs is an intern at In These Times.
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