Philly officials salute Mexico, protesters decry immigration crackdown

Listen
 A sombrero-wearing Mayor Jim Kenney (third from right) and Alicia Kerber-Palma, Mexico's consulate general Alicia Kerber-Palma (fourth from right) take part in Mexican flag-raising ceremonies at Philadelphia City Hall. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A sombrero-wearing Mayor Jim Kenney (third from right) and Alicia Kerber-Palma, Mexico's consulate general Alicia Kerber-Palma (fourth from right) take part in Mexican flag-raising ceremonies at Philadelphia City Hall. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

A protest over immigration crackdowns and a Mexican flag-raising ceremony took place Monday at Philadelphia City Hall.

While a mariachi band played at the ceremony to kick off Mexico Week in the city,  Mayor Jim Kenney sought to reassure immigrants by reiterating his dedication to Philadelphia’s “sanctuary city” status.

Sanctuary cities shelter unauthorized immigrants by refusing to help the federal government enforce immigration laws. In response, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has threatened to strip federal funding from those cities.

Kenney said Philadelphia police do, however, cooperate with immigration officials when presented with a warrant.

“This whole thing could be simply resolved by the federal government getting a warrant,” he said. “We will turn the person over to them with a warrant and a charge. It’s the way the criminal law system has been set up … why they want to circumvent it, I have no idea.”

Mexico’s consul general Alicia Kerber-Palma criticized President Trump’s plan for a longer border wall between the two countries.

Saying it makes no sense, she added that the two countries’ trade occurs at an estimated rate of “$1 million a minute.”

Around the corner, protesters demonstrated against tougher immigration enforcement.  Some wore masks to hide their faces.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.