Philadelphia's sanctuary city status under scrutiny in Toomey race

The issue of sanctuary cities is becoming a key sticking point in Pennsylvania’s Senate race this year between Pat Toomey and Democratic challenger Katie McGinty. The other player being dragged into the battle is Philadelphia’s new mayor, Jim Kenney, who finds himself defending the city’s policies of protecting illegal immigrants from federal officials in most cases. With Toomey and McGinty arguing the issue at the state level just as the Senate prepares to vote on Kate’s Law (sponsored by Toomey, by the way), the mayor is accusing the Republican senator of invoking Donald Trump on the campaign trail. (

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is taking on U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, saying Tuesday that the Republican’s criticism of his city’s sanctuary status is fearmongering in line with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s stances on immigrants.

Kenney’s shot at Toomey on Tuesday came a day before the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on a Toomey bill that would withhold certain federal grants from sanctuary cities.

Toomey is using Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status as a wedge issue against Democratic challenger Katie McGinty in his bid for second term in the November election.

“Senator Toomey’s bill is pulled straight from Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant playbook,” Kenney said in a statement.

The Democrats are expected to once again defeat Kate’s Law, so this issue will remain a contested one for Toomey’s race. In the meantime, Kenney is left defending policies which cast Philadelphia in a very poor light as the nation deals with more and more repeat offender illegal immigrants. The mayor is insisting that they do, in fact, cooperate with immigration officials… sometimes.

Philadelphia cooperates with the federal government in cases where terrorism is suspected, federal charges are filed or first- or second-degree felonies are committed, Kenney said…

Kenney’s administration has said that evidence suggests that sanctuary cities are possibly safer than those that cooperate with immigration authorities because immigrants are not afraid to report crimes or otherwise cooperate with the police.

There’s enough hogwash in Kenney’s arguments to supply an entire pig farm. If you are only willing to assist immigration enforcement when a suspect’s crimes rise to the level of terrorism or the most serious felonies then you are fighting against the rule of law. He insists that Philadelphia’s refusal to issue detainers for illegal immigrants is based on the belief that, “they indiscriminately target immigrants, including many innocent of criminal wrongdoing.” It continually amazes me that elected officials can spout such patently absurd nonsense. Even if you’ve not been caught doing anything else in violation of the law, any person who is knowingly in the country illegally is guilty of criminal wrongdoing by definition.

When you are elected as the Mayor of Philadelphia, part of your sworn duty is to uphold the law and protect your citizens. The fact that you may not personally believe in or agree with a particular law does not absolve you of that responsibility. The people of Philadelphia have chosen to elect yet another liberal who supports lawlessness to be in charge. The next time an illegal alien murders or rapes someone in the City of Brotherly Love, don’t expect us to be terribly sympathetic to your cries for justice.