Mayor Kenney seeks permanent Immigrant Affairs office
“Many in our immigrant communities are understandably concerned about their futures. These efforts are just part of the City’s work to reassure them that Philadelphia is, and will remain, a Welcoming City,” Office of Immigrant Affairs Director Miriam Enriquez said in a press release.
On Tuesday, Mayor Jim Kenney announced his intention for City Council, and Philadelphia voters, to make permanent the city’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (OIA).
“The importance of the immigrant community to the health and well-being of Philadelphia cannot be overstated,” Kenney said in a press release. “Making the Office of Immigrant Affairs permanent acknowledges their enormous contribution to the fabric of our City, and ensures that immigrants will always have a voice in city government.”
Kenney issued an executive order in 2016 to establish the office, which is dedicated to “promot[ing] the well-being of Philadelphia’s immigrant communities.”
The OIA implements policies and programs that seek to ensure access to services for the immigrant population in the city. The office further works to include immigrants in Philadelphia’s civic, economic and cultural life, and promotes the role immigrants play, and the contributions they make, to the city.
The mayor also announced that he has ordered more oversight of requests from ICE, including when the federal agency seeks to detain someone, or asks to be notified of an individual’s release from prison.
In addition to the Managing Director’s Office, which currently reviews such requests, the Director of OIA, the City Solicitor’s Office and and the Office of the Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice and Public Safety will now be briefed.
“Many in our immigrant communities are understandably concerned about their futures. These efforts are just part of the City’s work to reassure them that Philadelphia is, and will remain, a Welcoming City,” OIA Director Miriam Enriquez said in the press release.
The mayor is seeking an amendment to the Home Rule Charter to make permanent the Office of Immigrant Affairs.
From here, City Council must vote to approve the legislation for the amendment, and to have the measure placed on the May 2019 primary ballot.