Philadelphia may have to comply with new immigration laws.
Philadelphia may have to comply with new immigration laws.

Sanctuary cities are finally defined


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Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia stopped calling the city a sanctuary city in 2016. His comment was that a “sanctuary” was undefined and describing the city as a “4th Amendment City” is much more reflective of what the goals of the administration and law enforcement are: to prevent unwarranted search and seizure of people and their homes.

Until now, that was the definition that the people of Philadelphia had to go with when confronting Immigration and Customs Enforcement or “ICE” officials, but that just changed.

According to VICE News, Attorney General Jeff Sessions finalized the criteria for defining sanctuary jurisdictions, stating that those who “willfully refuse to comply” with a single federal immigration law, Section 1373, are a sanctuary city.

Section 1373 sets the requirement that state and local officials disclose details on detainees’ immigration status with federal immigration authorities. This efforts built on an action from last month, where Sessions sent letters to nine “non-compliant” jurisdictions, including Chicago, New Orleans, New York City, and Philadelphia.

This could possibly expand to finally include detainers in the definition as many of the jurisdictions singled-out by the law simply require a warrant in addition to any detainer request.

Detainers take effect when local police arrest an undocumented individual and hold them for an additional 48 hours while federal authorities determine if they want to pursue deportation.
This is a step forward since a step back in April, when a federal Judge William H. Orrick blocked the provision of Trump’s executive order that instructed federal funding be withheld from sanctuary jurisdictions.

The ruling stated that only Congress could “impose new conditions on federal grants.” He also said sanctuary cities or counties could face “immediate irreparable harm” if the executive order were implemented.
In his response, however, Sessions said the decision to withhold those funds was “squarely within the powers of the president.”
“This is the Trump era,” Sessions said at the time according to VICE News. “This will be the administration that fully enforces our nation’s immigration laws.”

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