After a monumental onslaught of pressure by the Abolish ICE movement, Mayor Kenney finally responded by ending the city’s data-sharing contract with ICE. Philadelphia maintains a legal database called PARS (Preliminary Arraignment Report System), which, until Kenney’s announcement, was accessible to ICE, who used it to racially profile, detain, and deport immigrants. Now ICE's access to PARS will end on 8/31.
Philadelphia’s city officials and Mayor Kenney in particular claim to stand with immigrants. They claim Philadelphia is a “sanctuary city.” The end of the PARS/ICE contract is an important gain for immigrants in Philadelphia and an increase in this so-called “sanctuary,” but the label is not yet earned.
The Berks County Family Detention Center, just 70 miles from Philly, is 1 of 3 family detention centers in the country, and the only one that can hold families indefinitely. Governor Wolf could close down the Center at any time, and we call on Kenney to demand this. Kenney’s intentional silence on this represents a collaboration with ICE. How can a sanctuary city be governed by a mayor who represents such a poor resistance to a stronghold of ICE located in his backyard?
Ending the criminalization of immigrants is a crucial part of the fight to secure true safety and security for all working class and oppressed people - a fight which includes affordable housing, a living wage, quality public education, and a massive jobs program. We must continue to push back against Trump’s racist and xenophobic administration, and against the violent U.S. deportation system. This struggle has no borders!
Our coalition made a big statement with the encampment at the 8th & Cherry ICE office and now we need to build this movement even more. We are calling for a mass march and rally to show Mayor Kenney, City Council, and Governor Wolf that Philadelphia really, truly stands with immigrants - and that we’re ready to take the streets until all are safe! We will not cease to agitate, educate, and organize, until we are all free. Stand with immigrants on August 4th - together we can make a difference. Let’s end all local collaboration, shut down Berks, and abolish ICE!
Our coalition has three demands:
1. Stop the Deportations: Abolish ICE
ICE is responsible for family separation and for raids of homes and workplaces. ICE is also an economic weapon against working people, used to drive down wages and working conditions of immigrants, and by extension, the broader working class. ICE is a humanitarian abomination, and also an obstacle to the progress of all working people.
2. End Family Detention: Close Berks
The Berks County Family Detention Center, outside of Philly, is 1 of 3 family detention centers in the country, and the only one that can hold families indefinitely. We demand Gov. Wolf order the closure of Berks, and that Mayor Kenney release a public statement requesting Wolf to do so. Families must be guaranteed legal status and an option of high quality housing in-state, NOT be transferred to another facility upon closure.
3. No Local Cooperation with ICE in Philly
Mayor Kenney announced he would cancel the contract that allows ICE has access to PARS, a legal database used by the city. We need to make sure this cancellation goes through on 8/31, and oppose all other collaboration between the city and ICE