Tensions Rise as Philadelphia’s Status as Sanctuary City Challenged

     On April 21, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney received a letter from Alan Hanson, Acting Assistant Attorney General, urging him to enforce federal immigration laws and orders within the sanctuary city.

      Philadelphia is a sanctuary city, meaning that it is a central hub for undocumented immigrants. These cities limit their compliance with federal order to avoid the deportation of undocumented residents. Along with Philadelphia, there are dozens of cities who have banded together in hopes of providing for illegal immigrants.

      However, with the recent election of President Donald Trump, the status of Philadelphia as a sanctuary city is in danger. The letter from Hanson, a general for the United States’ Justice Department, serves as Philadelphia’s first official warning to abide by federal ruling. In the letter sent to Mayor Kenney, Philadelphia was threatened with a federal funding cut of almost $2 million. This cut will come directly out of the funding for local law enforcement. In addition to this cut, Philadelphia would be required to arrest any known undocumented immigrants. The  justification for the cut in federal spending is quite simple: if officers do not apprehend undocumented immigrants, then they should not need as much federal funding. Also, if the funding were to be cut, the federal government plans to send immigration officers to dismantle the sanctuary city.

      The Philadelphian government, along with its federal superiors, have borne witness to much opposition to this new regulation. People have sought to make a statement against Trump’s policies regarding immigration with protests like “No Ban, No Wall” held in Philadelphia earlier this year and with others around the country. However, the elimination of Philadelphia as a sanctuary city has also received positive responses.

      Although immigration is a heated topic, Philadelphia could be seeing harsh consequences if they do not adhere to federal regulations.

      Source: CBS Philly

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