Multicultural group asks Bailey to change stance on sanctuary cities
A multicultural immigrant advocacy group has called on Republican candidate for mayor Melissa Murray Bailey to reconsider her position on sanctuary cities.
Bailey released a statement Friday saying that, if elected mayor, she would end Philadelphia’s sanctuary status, effectively renewing cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE officials.
United Voices for Philadelphia (UVP) consists of members of the city’s Asian, Latino, African, Caribbean, Middle Eastern and other immigrant communities. They describe themselves as “a group determined to make sure that voices of immigrants, under-represented minorities and their supporters are heard by elected officials and those seeking office.” Numerous leaders co-signed a letter calling out Bailey’s stance.
Here’s the key point of their argument:
“We object to your highlighting a few incidents where an undocumented person has committed a crime to be used to vilify all undocumented people. We believe that in essence what that vilification does is generally label all documented and undocumented people as criminals. Numerous studies have shown that immigrants, both documented and undocumented commit crimes at far lower rates than US citizens. Additionally, Sanctuary Cities also help documented immigrants and citizens who ‘look’ like immigrants from being locked up until their status can be reviewed by ICE.”
Anti-immigrant rhetoric has erupted in recent weeks. Republican presidential candidate and business magnate Donald Trump infamously called undocumented Latin American immigrants "criminals" and "rapists" during his announcement speech last month. Less than two weeks later was the horrific shooting of Kathryn Steinle, allegedly at the hands of a Mexican national who had been deported five times.
Some 200 U.S. jurisdictions that offer sanctuary status — i.e. limited cooperation with ICE — have since come under fire for their enforcement of immigration policy.
Bailey attributes her newfound stance against Philadelphia's sanctuary status to the Steinle shooting.
“By declaring Philadelphia a sanctuary city and not detaining illegal immigrants who have been convicted of a violent crime, we are putting the citizens of Philadelphia at risk,” she said.
But UVP criticizes her argument for not taking in the positive attributes of sanctuary cities.
“Ending Philadelphia as a Sanctuary City will also undermine the improving relationships and trust between immigrants and the Philadelphia Police Department, relationships which were difficult to build but crucial in keeping our communities safe,” the UVP letter concludes.