The city of Philadelphia has notified Department of Justice officials that it’s in compliance with federal regulations on undocumented immigrants.
The city relays information regarding unauthorized immigrants who are arrested through a variety of channels to the federal government, Mayor Jim Kenney said Thursday.
“Technically, we comply,” Kenney said. “Politically, since we’re not bowing down and telling them, ‘Thank you very much, we’ll do anything you say,’ is what this is all about.”
The nearly 15-page letter details that the city doesn’t proactively collect immigration information, said Sozi Pedro Tulante, city solicitor. If officers do come across that information inadvertently, it is shared only if the immigrant is a suspect in a criminal investigation.
“A lot of the gains we’ve made in reducing our crime rate is working with the immigrant community to be able to have them feel that they can trust the police,” Tulante said. “That if they are victims or witnesses, they will get a fair shake and be treated like anyone else.”
The mayor offered a message to assure those in the country without authorization who report criminal activity.
“I know it’s a very scary time, and there are a lot of rumors constantly flying around, so I want to make one thing perfectly clear,” he said. “I will treat you like I would any other resident of this great city, regardless of your documentation status.”
Officials say they do not know how the information will be received in Washington.