Philadelphia Affirms Commitment to Immigrant Community with Welcoming City Certification

PhiladelphiaImage by Neil Budde

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Philadelphia, a city known for its rich history and diversity, has been recognized as a certified Welcoming City in 2023. This distinction underlines the City’s commitment to providing high-quality services, including police services, to its immigrant residents who comprise approximately 15% of the total population.

Mayor Kenney’s Executive Order 5-16, signed in 2016, specifies that the City will only comply with federal detainer requests by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for immigrants in custody under two conditions: if there is a judicial warrant and if it pertains to an individual being released from custody following a conviction for a violent first or second-degree felony.

The Philadelphia Police Department (PPD) has established practices to ensure that the immigrant community can safely access their services. When answering a call, PPD officers keep the information they collect confidential, within the boundaries of the law. The City does not provide ICE access to records of individuals currently in the City’s custody, and the PPD does not enforce federal immigration law.

Moreover, filing a police report or a complaint against PPD members does not require the disclosure of immigration status. Internal Affairs, responsible for investigating complaints against PPD members, also does not inquire about immigration status when a complaint is filed.

These measures foster a safe environment where immigrants can interact with PPD members without fear of their immigration status being shared, except under the specific conditions established in Executive Order 5-16.

For additional details, the Citizens Police Oversight Commission (CPOC) has provided a policy explainer on immigrant interactions with Philadelphia Police Officers.

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The recognition of Philadelphia as a Welcoming City marks a significant step in the City’s efforts to ensure equitable access to services for all residents, regardless of their immigration status.

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