The No-Bullshit Guide to Sanctuary Cities

Immigration has been a long-debated issue in American politics, especially in the past decade. However, upon Donald Trump announcing his candidacy for President and calling Mexican immigrants “drug dealers” and “rapists,” the already controversial topic has grown even more contentious.

Most immigration policy is the province of the federal government. But not all. Take sanctuary cities. Loosely defined, these are cities that have decided not to cooperate with federal immigration authorities, or to cooperate at least a little less than the feds would like.

Philadelphia is a sanctuary city. Or at least, it has been one.

The status of sanctuary cities has become a point of debate in the presidential contest, particularly on the GOP side. Louisiana Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Bobby Jindal said that mayors of such cities should “absolutely” be arrested.

Now, six weeks before he leaves office, Mayor Michael Nutter is thinking about rolling back Philly’s status as a sanctuary city. But what exactly does the term mean, and what are the details? Here’s everything you need to know. Read more »

Pro-Immigration Groups Rally Against Nutter’s Proposal to Reverse “Sanctuary City” Policy

Photos by Holly Otterbein

Photos by Holly Otterbein

More than 50 people gathered at City Hall Monday to condemn the Nutter administration’s proposal to reverse an executive order that limits cooperation between local law enforcement officials and federal immigration agents.

“I am deeply disappointed,” said Rabbi Linda Holtzman. “I thought I lived in a city where a mayor might keep his promises. Shame on you, Mayor Nutter.” Read more »

South Philly Barbacoa’s Benjamin Miller Hosting Right to Work Events


Benjamin Miller at a barbacoa event.

South Philly Barbacoa’s Benjamin Miller has been a vocal supporter of immigrant restaurant workers and he is going to be hosting a series of events to raise awareness and show solidarity with those unable to work legally in the United States. On Monday, November 30th, he is hosting a dinner upstairs at Nomad Pizza. The event will begin at 6:30 with a meet-and-greet, dinner, presentations and live music.

A donation is requested for the dinner and the event will be capped at 50 people. Chefs Nick Macri (La Divisa Meats), Calvin Okunoye (Restaurant Opportunities Center), Cristina Martinez  (South Philly Barbacoa) and Elijah Milligan (H2o Kitchen).

Reservations will be accepted starting at noon on Monday, November 16th. Watch the Facebook page for a number to call.

More on the goals of the event »

5 Takeaways From the Joyous, Weird Scene at Independence Mall

A crowd fills the Independence Mall as Pope Francis speaks in front of Independence Hall, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

A crowd fills the Independence Mall as Pope Francis speaks in front of Independence Hall, Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Follow Philadelphia magazine’s live coverage of Pope Francis’s historic visit all weekend long.

Independence Mall was a chaotic, bizarre, beautiful place on Saturday. Pope Francis delivered a rousing speech on immigration and religious freedom there in the afternoon, but that was far from the only memorable thing that happened. Here are five takeaways from a day at the historic site:

1. Philadelphia is truly an international city right now.

Before the pope showed up to deliver his speech, Chinese dancers, African drummers and salsa musicians entertained the crowd for hours. Walking around, I heard more non-English languages than I heard English, and officials who took to the stage always got a bigger applause when they spoke in Spanish. People were waving flags from loads of different countries. Seeing this all near Independence Hall, where our country got its start, was pretty special. Read more »

Chaput Slams Trump on Immigration

Chaput Trump

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput assailed GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump on Tuesday, saying Trump’s rhetoric on immigration “plays on our worst fears and resentments.”

The comments were reported by the Associated Press, which said they were “prepared for a church forum that was part of the run-up of activities to a visit by Pope Francis.”

In those comments, Chaput disputed Trump’s proposal to end “birthright citizenship” — the automatic granting of citizenship to babies born on American soil, even if their parents are illegally.

“This is a profoundly bad idea,” Chaput said. Read more »

The Brief: Another Water Main Broke in West Philly

1. It’s the summer of water main breaks.

The gist: A 12-inch water main broke in West Philadelphia on Tuesday evening, according to 6ABC. It led to interruptions in SEPTA’s trolley service, and traffic had to be shut down in some areas surrounding 33rd and Market streets. Not much information beyond that is currently available in media reports. Read more »

Philadelphia Customs Agent Arrested for Stealing from Deportees

Justin Ford, Philadelphia Police Department mugshot

Justin Ford, Philadelphia Police Department mugshot

On February 24th, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agent Justin Ford met with Philadelphia police to take a prisoner facing deportation into custody and transfer him to York County Prison. But what he didn’t know is that the prisoner was actually an undercover Philadelphia police officer. Read more »

Immigrants Are Saving the Italian Market

Photograph by Matt Stanley

Photograph by Matt Stanley

The millennials get all the press whenever Philadelphia’s population growth comes up, but the city’s booming immigrant communities are actually doing as much or more to power the city’s revival.

This is a new and heartening development for Philadelphia. The city’s share of foreign-born residents fell dramatically between 1960 and 1990, even as immigrant populations in other U.S. cities grew. Read more »

Nutter Joins Mayors Backing Obama on Immigration


Mayor Nutter has joined with mayors of two dozen other large American cities to offer President Obama support in his efforts to reduce deportations of immigrants residing illegally in the United States.

Cities United for Immigration Action announced its existence today.

“The president’s action on immigration will strengthen our cities. It will keep families together, grow our economies and foster additional community trust in law enforcement and government,” the coalition said in a statement. “We are ready — and together we’re rolling up our sleeves to turn this policy into a better reality for millions of hardworking people in the communities we serve.”

Read more »

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