Martina White: Keep Philadelphia A Sanctuary City
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Recently, a bill was passed that would force local Philadelphia police officers to essentially "hand over" illegal immigrants to federal immigration authorities, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), immediately following an arrest. This bill was introduced by State Representative Martina White, with her intended goal being to "reduce crime." White also calls for the punishment of sanctuary cities such as Philadelphia who refuse to follow the bill, imposing threats such as cutting state grants (about $638 million for Philadelphia). Justice and Homeland Security are the two agencies most likely to cut off funding, refusing money for: local law enforcement agencies to hire officers; strengthen prosecutions, courts and jails; provide drug treatment, prepare for terrorist attacks, and assist crime victims (such as victims of domestic violence and violence against women) and witnesses, to name a few.
Although White claims crime reduction is her goal, unfortunately, most of the "criminals" being detained under such policies are being arrested for minor crimes such as driving with a broken tail light and other misdemeanors. They are not murderers and terrorists, but instead young kids traveling to school, or parents on their way home from work. They are well-meaning and hard-working people who have established their livelihoods here and live in peace. This bill makes them potential victims of racial profiling, as we saw with an eerily similar Arizona bill that led to racial profiling against Latinos. In addition, such a law could make illegal immigrants less likely to report a crime for fear of deportation, in turn maintaining or increasing crime rates, or make immigrant communities targets for criminals who will pray on their fears of deportation should they contact law enforcement.
Mayor of Philadelphia, Jim Kenney, has responded in opposition to the bill on multiple occasion, and has also signed an executive order on his first day in office which blocked cooperation between local police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement when it comes to detaining undocumented immigrants. He claims that Philadelphia is not a "Sanctuary City" but a “Fourth Amendment City" because Philadelphia law enforcement will not detain undocumented immigrants for ICE unless the person is a convicted violent criminal and unless there is a warrant issued for that criminal's arrest, as outlined by the Fourth Amendment which protects any person (it doesn't specify citizen or non-citizen) from unreasonable searches and seizures without a warrant.
Although we have the brave men like the mayor speaking up for us, it's going to take more than one voice to bring this to light. Please sign and share this petition to urge White and the state to remove this legislation from our state. You can also contact her below:
10752 Bustleton Ave., Suite C
Philadelphia, PA 19116
Phone: (215) 330-3711
Hours: 9 a.m. - 4:30
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