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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

WHYY - Philadelphia may stop sending arrest info to ICE

Philadelphia may stop sending arrest info to ICE

Monday, June 28th, 2010

By: Susan Phillips

Philadelphia's immigrant community wants the city to end a program that gives federal immigration authorities information about arrested people. City officials will be voting on whether to renew the policy later this week.

Immigrant advocates say the year-long practice of handing over information to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents breeds fear of the police. Currently, the information on a person's immigration status is transferred electronically at booking, regardless of whether the person is later brought to trial or found guilty.

Philadelphia Deputy Mayor Everett Gillison says the practice has intimidated victims and witnesses from immigrant communities, preventing them from reporting crimes.

"The Mayor's very worried about the fact that there seems to be a chilling effect. And the people in the community feel the police are using this and using this particular access to support immigration checks."

Gillison says he'd rather rely on the same information being channelled to immigration authorities through the state after a person has been convicted of a crime.

But the Mayor is only one of four votes. District Attorney Seth Williams says he hasn't made up his mind. The remaining votes come from the Municipal Court and the police department.

For original article, visit WHYY's blog

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