Posted on February 3, 2017

As Kenney Defends Sanctuary City Policy, Clarke Calls For Flexibility

Tricia L. Nadolny,, February 2, 2017

City Council President Darrell L. Clarke suggested Thursday that Philadelphia should rethink its status as a “sanctuary city,” despite Mayor Kenney’s pledge to stand firm in the face of a potential loss of federal funding.

“While I believe in individuals’ rights regardless of their citizenry, the simple reality is we cannot lose federal and state funding,” Clarke said after Council’s weekly meeting.

In response, Kenney’s spokeswoman, Lauren Hitt, noted that Council in September passed a resolution commending Kenney for upholding the policy. Clarke was one of the sponsors. 

“We cannot waver on that belief now just because things are more difficult,” Hitt said. “An attack on one Philadelphian is an attack on all of us. We must stand together in the face of hate.”

President Trump last week signed an executive order threatening to withhold federal funding from jurisdictions that do not fully cooperate with efforts by federal immigration officers to detain or deport undocumented immigrants. The order did not specify which funds to withdraw, and Kenney in turn said he saw no reason to change the city’s policy, which bars almost all cooperation between local and federal immigration officials.