Mayor Jim Kenney is responding after about 100 people were arrested in Philadelphia during a four-day nationwide immigration sweep targeting so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, federal authorities announced Thursday.
“As I have said many times before, such sweeping raids sow distrust and anxiety among members of our immigrant communities and make them less likely to trust any law-enforcement, including our police. Further, Operation ‘Safe City’ proves that our welcoming policies— for immigrants and non-immigrants alike—do not stop ICE from enforcing federal immigration law, as ICE has suggested in the past," Mayor Kenney said in a statement Friday.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said "Operation Safe City," which ended Wednesday, targeted people who have "violated U.S. immigration laws, prioritizing aliens with criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, known gang members and affiliates, immigration fugitives and those who re-entered the U.S. after deportation."
The agency noted that agents targeted regions "where ICE deportation officers are denied access to jails and prisons to interview suspected immigration violators or jurisdictions where ICE detainers are not honored."
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"Sanctuary jurisdictions that do not honor detainers or allow us access to jails and prisons are shielding criminal aliens from immigration enforcement and creating a magnet for illegal immigration," ICE Acting Director Tom Homan said. "As a result, ICE is forced to dedicate more resources to conduct at-large arrests in these communities."
Nobody registered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program -- which provides protection from deportation for people brought to the country illegally as children by their parents -- were targeted in the operation, officials said.
ICE officials said 107 people were arrested in Philadelphia, out of 498 nationally. Other raids were conducted in the Los Angeles area; Santa Clara County; Baltimore; Cook County, Illinois; Denver; New York; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; Washington, D.C.; and the state of Massachusetts.
Philadelphia had the most arrests, followed by Los Angeles with 101.
According to ICE, among those arrested in Philadelphia was a citizen of the Donminican Republic who entered the country illegally and has previous convictions for possession of firearms.
The 498 people arrested in the operation came from 42 countries and 312 of them had criminal convictions, according to ICE.