Protestors Block Transfer of Immigrant Detainees

Protestors gathered outside the Philadelphia Immigration and Customs Enforcement office Wednesday.

More than 50 undocumented Philadelphians and their supporters blocked vehicle exits to prevent the local ICE office at 1600 Callowhill St. from transfering immigrant detainees. 

Police officers could be seen containing the group to allow cars to exit.   

The activists are calling for an end to the Secure Communities Program, which is a partnership between local and federal authorities.  Under the program, also called S-COMM, the FBI automatically sends fingerprints provided by Philadelphia police to the Department of Human Services to check against immigration databases.

If any undocumented citizen or person removable due to a criminal conviction comes up in the search, ICE can then take action to deport those individuals.

Philadelphia City Council will be reviewing the impact of Immigration Holds, which is one of the ways police and ICE collaborate on S-COMM, on immigrant communties and public safety in early 2014. 

The action is part of the national #Not1More Deportation campaign.  Community members led a procession to ICE headquarters in Washington D.C. to call attention to President Obama's immigration policies and demand a stop to deportations.

Sens. Cory Booker and Robert Menendez were also in Washington Wednesday to lend support to protestors pushing for immigration reform.

Menendez and Booker visited Fast for Families and pledged to fast for 24 hours in solidarity with the organization.

The group has been on a water-only fast to urge the House of Representatives to consider an immigration reform bill that passed the Senate. 

A spokesman for Menendez says he'll renew his call for the House speaker to bring it to a vote. He is an architect of the bill.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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