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Philadelphia And Federal Government Face Off Over Immigration

The Trump administration has made no secret of its quest to crack down on illegal, and, many argue, legal immigration. From promises of a border wall along the U.S. and Mexican border to stripping Dreamers of DACA protections, in the 10 months since taking office, the current administration has made several sweeping attempts to keep immigrants from both coming to and staying in the country.

Sanctuary cities like Philadelphia have also come under fire by both the Trump administration and officials at the Department of Justice for refusing to cooperate with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency when it comes to enforcement actions.

As part of its effort to strong arm sanctuary cities into cooperating with ICE to identify and detain individuals who are believed to be in violation of U.S. immigration laws, the DOJ recently threatened to withhold a $1.6 million in federal grant money from Philadelphia.

In August, Philadelphia sued the DOJ for imposing new federal grant conditions that directly contradict the city's sanctuary city protections. In its lawsuit, the city argued that the DOJ exceeded their legal authority by seeking to impose conditions for federal grant funds, including:

  • Provide ICE officials with 48-hour notification prior to releasing individuals suspected of being in the U.S. illegally from police custody.
  • Grant ICE officials unrestricted access to jails throughout the city.

Currently, Philadelphia's law enforcement officials only hand individuals over to ICE in cases where someone has been convicted of a felony or a when an official arrest warrant accompanies the ICE request.

As the federal government continues to aggressively pursue efforts to impose and enforce new immigration restrictions, residents who reside in immigrant communities throughout Philadelphia remain on edge. For those who have questions and concerns about current immigration laws and their rights under those laws, it's wise to seek the help and guidance of an immigration attorney.

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