“Everybody’s On Edge”: Mayor Kenney
At a Multicultural Media Roundtable last week, Mayor Kenney spoke candidly about the city’s reactions to the administration under President Donald Trump. He spoke about the unpredicatability of the city’s future and what it could mean for the immigrant community.
The Mayor began stating that the status of the city is will not change, stating, "A lot of people have asked me if immigrants and other minorities can still feel welcome. So let me say, on behalf of the people of Philadelphia, everyone is welcome here. In the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection, I believe inclusion has always made us stronger. We will not abandon or walk back that belief regardless of who the president is.”
He said his hope for Philadelphia is that it maintains the status and stance it has for many years and for years to come. “Philadelphia has always been and will continue to be a welcoming city. We will continue to be a 4th amendment city for several reasons. The first and primary reason is to make our cities safer - not less safe. Our homicide commitment rate is already less than 50% in large part because we have a hard time getting witnesses to come forward. We will likely have a more difficult time in solving those if immigrants are scared that cooperating policy will lead to their deportation. As far as President Trump goes, it’s difficult to predict what he will do so we’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst,” Kenney stated.
Standing with the immigrant community he called on his own heritage and knowledge and understanding as the descendent of Irish immigrants. He shared that the issue was close to home for him and one he would not abandon regardless of pushback. “To throw our immigrant communities under the bus because I’m afraid of Donald Trump, Pat Toomey or anyone else would be an absolute insult to the memory of my ancestors. So you can be assured that regardless of what bubbles up in Harrisburg or what bubbles up in Washington, we will fight it. We will fight it in the courts. We will fight it in anyway we can fight it. We will fight and we will not give up,” Mayor Kenney shared at the roundtable.
While others have focused on the benefits of maintaining a sanctuary status via crime and safety, Mayor Kenney also highlighted the vast contributions that immigrants have brought to Philadelphia and how they have helped the city grow. “We have grown in this city, we have grown in our population, we have grown in our business communities," Kenney stated.
He doubled down on his commitment to use the Philadelphia government to support the immigrant communities in anyway he can stating, “I want your readers to understand that this administration, this city, this mayor, this city council, and this government will not walk back on civil rights [and any other rights].”
“The fact of the matter is that almost every major police chief in the nation agrees that sanctuary cities are the way to go because it makes the cities actually safer rather than having immigrants and other folks be afraid of talking to the police. They’re less likely to report a crime if they witness a crime [...] even if they’re here documented, they’re still afraid that contact with police agents will result in their deportation. Cause people with documents have been deported. We’ve had court cases in municipalities in Pennsylvania where people with documents have been deported,” Kenney added.
An example of this, Galarza v. Szlaczyk, where an Allentown man was illegally held in prison and the federal court later found that detainers were not enough to hold someone in custody.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with this administration. I just have to guess. Like I said before if this were McCain or Bush or Reagan I would have some idea where they were going. But it’s a new adventure everyday. Sometimes he’s moderate sometimes he’s moderate - I mean, it’s hard to tell daily what he’ll be like. And I think everybody’s on edge.”