Today in Philadelphia, Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order that limits cooperation between the Philadelphia Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The law prevents Philadelphia police from being able to detain immigrants for transfer to federal facilities without a court warrant.
Congratulations to the Philadelphia Family Unity Network (PFUN), a coalition of immigrants, activists, and allies, who successfully campaigned to pass this law. Mia-lia Kiernan, community organizer with 1Love Movement and PFUN member, says, “Our work is centered on the belief that families belong together, and that removing people from our communities through deportation threatens our survival as people. We also work under the belief that mandatory and institutionalized punishment is not our route, as a society, to addressing the root causes of violence in our communities. It is not our route to community-led and victim-centered healing. It is not our route to individual accountability and transformation. And it is not our route to re-building our traumatized communities.”
The use of ICE detainers affects documented and undocumented immigrants. Some of the harshest consequences fall on people with legal status who are convicted of crimes and subsequently subjected to mandatory immigration detention and deportation without a hearing. By requiring ICE to obtain a warrant, the policy will effectively end the use of ICE holds in Philadelphia. Philadelphia police and prison staff have already been instructed to ignore ICE holds, and not to contact ICE regarding the release of an individual from the criminal system.
After today’s win, PFUN stated, “Our coalition led this campaign by building strength and solidarity across all communities, and fought for the rights of all individuals to remain in the city they call home, including our members and our loved ones who are currently or formerly incarcerated.”
Much like New York City’s laws limiting the power of NYPD to detain immigrants, the Philadelphia law is a small step in the larger work of undermining a system that criminalizes poor people, immigrants, people of color, and daily acts of survival.
National surveillance measures, collaboration between local law enforcement and ICE, and programs like Secure Communities (S-Comm) have a drastic impact on transgender and gender nonconforming people. Our community members are commonly profiled by the police for expressing their gender identity or participating in criminalized economies in order to survive, then disappearing into ICE custody as they face removal proceedings. For transgender people, deportation more often than not results in additional violence, discrimination, and sometimes death.
We hope that, with our continued mobilization, Philadelphia’s move puts pressure on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to stop criminalization, stop all NYPD collaboration with ICE, and end Secure Communities.
Tonight, you can join SRLP at a New Member Orientation and a Know Your Rights workshop on immigration. I hope you will join me to build our skills together.
All SRLP events are FREE and ALL are welcome!
WHEN: Thursday, April 17
6 – 6:30 PM – New Member Orientation
7 – 8:30 PM – Know Your Rights Workshop on Immigration
WHERE: 147 West 24th Street, 5th Floor, NYC (elevator building)
TRAINS: F, M, E, C, E, R, N, 1
Snacks, Metrocards, and English/Spanish Interpreting Provided
You can also support SRLP’s crucial work to resist criminal-immigration collaboration that targets our communities by making a donation at http://srlp.org/donate