Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrested 49 immigrants from the Philadelphia area this May, and Mayor Kenney’s spokesperson claims that ICE raids are leaving the immigrant community anxious with a general distrust of all law enforcement. City officials are concerned that this sentiment will begin to effect police officer safety and the overall ability to do their job. Additionally, immigrants afraid of deportation may feel forced to live in the shadows, avoiding law enforcement at all costs. This could result in the underreporting of crime and a failure to contact law enforcement when in danger.
However, ICE officials feel that Philadelphia is not cooperative with their efforts to detain certain immigrants. They argue that although the city is a proponent of immigrant rights, their policies are enabling dangerous criminals to be released back on the streets, which threatens the safety of those the city is trying to protect.
ICE Detainer Dispute
Of the 49 Philadelphia immigrants arrested in May, 14 were recently released, including some who had an ICE detainer issued against them. ICE detainers are generally issued for immigrants considered to be dangerous. The detainer asks local authorities to hold a prisoner until ICE agents can arrive to take custody. However, many Philadelphia officials argue that the detainer is not binding, and they do not have the authority to hold anyone beyond their scheduled release date without a warrant issued by a judge. In fact, the city and the federal government are currently battling in court over whether Philadelphia must comply with ICE detainers.
Although a final verdict has not been reached, a distinction has been made between those detained for criminal reasons and those detained for non-criminal reasons. Considering that public safety is the goal, perhaps there is hope for a compromise.
ICE Fact Sheet
ICE arrests often leave families, friends, and employers devastated and confused; however, Immigration and Customs Enforcement explains that the arrests made are not raids or sweeps that indiscriminately target foreigners. Although they may appear to the public to be random, deportation officers conduct targeted enforcement operations every day with the purpose of protecting public safety.
In an effort to quell public concern over stories of ICE raids, sweeps, and checkpoints, the US Department of Homeland Security issued an ICE Fact Sheet. This came as a direct response to the alarm caused by the 51 ICE arrests made in the San Antonio area last year.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Provide Experienced Legal Guidance for Those Seeking Immigration Assistance
If you or a family member is facing deportation, or you are in need of other assistance, the Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are ready to help. Call today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online to arrange your initial consultation with a dedicated and knowledgeable Philadelphia immigration lawyer in our Center City Philadelphia offices.