Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on his first day in office rescinded a policy set up by his predecessor in order to restore the city's status as a so-called "sanctuary city" for illegal immigrants.
"Executive Order 5-16 states that city authorities will not cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainer requests for undocumented citizens who are arrested and would have otherwise been released from custody, unless the individual has committed a first or second degree felony involving violence," the mayor’s office said in a statement, Metro US reported
Previous Mayor Michael Nutter ended city cooperation with ICE in 2014, but last month reversed course and issued an order increasing such coordination.
Kenney's executive order to rescind cooperation with federal agents made good on a promise he made during the Nutter administration's last days.
In addition to signing the executive order, Kenney said he had recently spoken with the Obama administration's Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who is promoting a new "Priority Enforcement" program over an old "Secure Communities" plan.
According to Philly.com
, Kenney said ICE representatives will soon visit the city and brief his administration on the new program.
"But until that happens," he said, "we are going back to our old situation."
That means that—like it was between April 2014 and last month—police are barred from telling ICE agents about undocumented prisoners' pending releases unless that person was convicted of a felony and ICE had made a request accompanied by a warrant.
Sanctuary cities came to nation attention after 32-year-old San Francisco woman Kathryn "Kate" Steinle was allegedly shot and killed this past summer by Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez, an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. Lopez-Sanchez, a convicted felon, has been deported many times, but had returned illegally to reside in San Francisco, a longstanding sanctuary city.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Steinle's death was tragic, and that American cities needed to end their sanctuary policies because they grant safe haven to criminals.
In addition to the sanctuary city orders, "Kenney also signed executive orders establishing the position and office of Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, re-establishing the office of Chief Integrity Officer and creating the Offices of Planning and Development and Chief Administrative Officer," Philly Voice reported
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