Two Philadelphia cases were cited in a recent federal report about undocumented immigrants being arrested on criminal charges, then released from custody. However, there is some dispute about the validity of these cases being included in the report. The city claims that the cases did not actually occur, citing that there are no city records that match up with the cases cited in the federal report. Allegedly, two Mexican nationals were arrested and then released from custody in Philadelphia despite requests from federal immigration authorities to keep them detained and turn them over to federal officers. This report was a weekly report to the federal government mandated by the same executive order that created the “travel ban.” This executive order also calls to cut funding to sanctuary cities.
Philadelphia and Other Sanctuary Cities
Sanctuary cities are cities that refuse to enforce deportation for undocumented immigrants. There is no specific legal criteria for a jurisdiction to be considered a sanctuary city other than limiting its cooperation with the federal government’s efforts to deport undocumented individuals. In the United States, there are more than 300 cities, counties, and even states that have some type of sanctuary policy in place. There is some legal gray area surrounding a jurisdiction’s obligation to turn over arrested individuals to federal agents. Although federal immigration laws are enforced throughout the nation and federal agencies may request that local law enforcement comply with their inquiries, numerous federal courts have held that local law enforcement agencies are not required to comply with these requests.
In Philadelphia, law enforcement’s policy is to only detain individuals for whom criminal warrants have been issued, regardless of their immigration status. In order to obtain an arrest warrant, law enforcement must present probable cause that the individual for whom the warrant is issued committed the alleged criminal offense outlined in the warrant to a judge. This does not mean the individual is guilty of the offense. It simply means that there is sufficient evidence to believe that they could be guilty and that definite guilt or innocence can be determined through an investigation and trial.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Help Individuals Facing Immigration Difficulties
If you are facing any type of legal difficulty regarding your immigration status, such as obtaining certain pieces of paperwork approved or appealing a decision about your visa, work with an experienced Philadelphia immigration lawyer. Fill out our online form or call 215-925-4435 or 888-452-9578 to reach Surin & Griffin, P.C. to schedule your initial consultation with us. We are located in Philadelphia and we serve clients from Bala Cynwyd, Merion Station, Darby, Wynnewood, Sharon Hill, Upper Darby, Narberth, Folcroft, Cheltenham, Clifton Heights, Lansdowne, Glenolden, Drexel Hill, Elkins Park, Havertown, Norwood, Ardmore, Holmes, Essington, Wyncote, Prospect Park, Delaware County, Montgomery County, and Philadelphia County.