Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney announced Friday that has stopped allowing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to access a key city law enforcement database.
Kenney plans to formally announce the decision to terminate the city’s contract with ICE Friday afternoon, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I cannot in good conscience allow the agreement to continue,” Kenney told the paper.
Kenney’s decision comes after several incidents that he says gave him reason to be concerned that the agency was using its access to the Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System, or PARS, in “inappropriate ways.”
The mayor’s office claimed that ICE would search the database to find Philadelphia residents born outside of the U.S. and target them for investigation, even if they had not been accused or convicted of a crime.
According to the mayor, Philadelphia ICE officials confirmed earlier this month that the agency’s access to the database could result in immigration enforcement against residents without criminal convictions.
The database, which is a real-time database of arrests, does not list immigration status, according to the Inquirer, but does include country of origin and Social Security number.
ICE has come under scrutiny nationwide, as arrests of immigrants without criminal convictions have spiked under the Trump administration. Immigration advocates and some progressive Democrats have called for the agency to be abolished, accusing the president of abusing it to target more immigrants for deportation.
Kenney, who has been an advocate for Philadelphia’s “sanctuary city” policies, has faced repeated calls to terminate the contract.
City Solicitor Marcel Pratt wrote a letter notifying ICE officials of the decision to end the contract, in which he wrote that the partnership “has created the false perception that the city is willing to be an extension of ICE,” according to the Inquirer.
BY AVERY ANAPOL – 07/27/18