MAYOR NUTTER yesterday signed an executive order that drastically limits the city's cooperation with requests from the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to hold people accused of minor crimes for possible deportation proceedings.
The city will now require ICE to provide a judicial warrant - signed by a judge or magistrate and stating that the person is suspected of a first- or second-degree felony - when requesting that local authorities detain someone longer than they otherwise would, a practice known as "ICE holds."
Nutter said the policy change will increase safety because undocumented immigrants in the city will be more likely to report crimes or testify as witnesses if they don't have to worry about being deported when interacting with city officials.
"Every Philadelphian or person in Philadelphia has the right to feel safe, secure, protected," Nutter said. "I'm just against criminals. That's my position."
A crowd of dozens of immigration advocates chanted, "Si, se pudo," or "Yes, we did," after Nutter signed the order in a City Hall ceremony.
City Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez, who spoke at the event, thanked the activists for "taking us to task and making sure that we get this done . . . to put Philadelphia where it belongs" on the issue.