After a month of businesses being disrupted, sidewalks blocked by unsanitary tents and multiple arrests, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney gave in to the demands of Leftist radicals and professional agitators to end the city’s information-sharing contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Since they began, the protests have focused on denying ICE access to the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS), a database which provides real-time notification of felony and misdemeanor arrests made by Philadelphia police.
While other federal agencies like the FBI and ATF will retain access to the data, Mayor Kenney and City Solicitor Marcel Pratt announced on July 27 that ICE would be walled off when the contract ends on August 31.
“For some time now we have been concerned that ICE uses PARS in inappropriate ways, including to conduct investigations that result in immigration enforcement against law-abiding Philadelphia residents,” said Mayor Kenney,
He proclaimed the decision would prevent ICE from being able to “go out and round people up” and that “If I could abolish ICE, I would,” a declaration which won praise from the gathered audience of sanctuary city sympathizers, including delegations from Juntos, an illegal immigrant rights group, and the New Sanctuary movement.
While Kenney said he would stop honoring ICE detainers on his first day in office, ending the contract with ICE was not a given when the protests began.
That changed one week into the protests when violent clashes broke out and more than 30 activists were arrested. A few days later, police took down the tents and evicted the inhabitants that were creating security and health risks to the public.
Unhappy with Kenney’s decision to restore some semblance of order, fringe left-wing activists began talking about a 2019 challenger and criticizing police tactics. So, Kenney weakly tried to save radical face.
“I frankly am sad that this situation happened because I actually agree with the protesters and have been working very hard to keep people, immigrants documented and undocumented, safe,” whimpered Kenney, according to Philly.com.
What Kenney failed to note is that a defendant’s immigration status is not included in the database because Philadelphia police are prohibited from inquiring about any person’s immigration status.
Whatever his motives, his actions received rightful criticism.
“This is an irresponsible decision that results in the city harboring criminal aliens,” said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) spokeswoman Katie Waldman. Regardless of the decision, she said DHS “will continue to work to remove illegal aliens and uphold public safety.”
That is what ICE has been doing. Last month, they arrested Guillermo Leon-Sandoval, 35, who had been charged by Philadelphia police after his estranged wife accused him of unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury; simple assault; and false imprisonment. There was a detainer and criminal arrest warrant for him, but local police released him anyway.
Criminal aliens will not avoid accountability – and neither should political leaders like Jim Kenney who sacrifice security and yield to political blackmail.