Is it “hypocritical” to call Philadelphia a sanctuary city?
This is what organizations working to protect immigrant rights are saying in Philadelphia.
With plans for a walk-out of immigrant families posed for Thursday and reports of a surge in Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, the question of what a sanctuary city really means is being pushed even farther to the forefront than Harrisburg or Trump could.
In a continued effort from the people outside of the bureaucracy, Philadelphia will see in a physical demonstration what the true impact immigrants have on the city.
While reports have shown that immigrants tend to commit crimes at lower rates, start more businesses, and also contribute greatly to the communities they serve, a large scale representation of what that truly mans will be shown on Thursday.
Organized by Juntos, the group wants everyone to know that ICE raids are not a new phenomenon and have been happening since the Obama administration, even in sanctuary cities.
“The word Sanctuary means a place of safety or refuge. It is hypocritical of us to say that our city embodies that. Not only because ICE is still out in our streets deporting our people but also due to the continued practice of policies that target and criminalize our black and brown communities, which are only exasperated now by a Trump presidency,” Says Olivia Vázquez, Juntos organizer.
In fact, just across the bridge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has started to complete raids.
When asked about ICE raids in the New Jersey, Gov. Christie’s on Sunday defended recent raids in the state saying, “The laws that are in effect right now have to be enforced,” on CNN’s State of the Union.
These policies have come under scrutiny as many of the people who are detained have not committed violent crimes.
Philadelphia’s current status as a “sanctuary” or “4th amendment” city puts it in a particular position as Mayor Kenney maintains that he will not change the city’s policy on ICE detainers in the city.
“Every raid that ICE does and every deportation that occurs as a result is a deliberate and violent attack against our communities,” a statement from Juntos says.
Another group in Philadelphia, the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, has continued its work for immigrants to fight against ICE raids, including creating a 24-hour emergency hotline people can call to report a raid.
And have also stated that they will be dedicated to disrupting raids that happen in the city and surrounding areas.
“While we brace ourselves for more aggressive tactics from a federal agency that is now emboldened by the racist and xenophobic speech of Donald Trump, we will continue to empower our communities by educating them on their rights; on not opening the door to ICE and on how allies can help by documenting not only immigration raids but also police stops that they see happening on the streets,” the statement from Juntos continued.