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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    Toomey beats anti-sanctuary city drum as re-election campaign heats up

    UPDATED : Today 2:00 pm

    U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey (center), state Rep. Martina White (right) and Harry Dannehower of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association at a news conference on Monday

    Gearing up for a re-election campaign during a presidential race badly shaken up by Donald Trump, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey appeared in Philadelphia Monday to voice his opposition to the sanctuary city policies Mayor Jim Kenney has championed.

    While that stance lines up with Trump’s rhetoric, Toomey has not endorsed the presumptive GOP nominee, and authored an Inquirer op-ed Sunday calling him “not my first, second, or third choice.” He also criticized the business tycoon and reality TV host, writing that his “vulgarity, particularly towards women, is appalling.”

    But Toomey struck a somewhat more conciliatory tone at Monday’s news conference, noting that he agreed with Trump in certain areas — specifically repealing Obamacare and “simplifying” the tax code.

    “He's got a lot of work to do to unite the Republican Party and win the presidential election,” Toomey said.

    The op-ed came as the campaign of Toomey’s opponent, Democrat Kate McGinty, a former state director of environmental protection, has begun trying to associate him, in voter's minds, with Donald Trump — referring to his campaign as the “Trump-Toomey” ticket.

    Regardless of whether Toomey sees differences between Trump and himself, he was in town to pitch his bill to cut off some federal funding to sanctuary cities like Philadelphia. Trump has also been intensely critical of sanctuary city policies, and his stark stances on immigration — including a ban of all new Muslims — have polled well among Republican voters.

    “Philadelphia has one of the most extreme sanctuary city policies in America,” Toomey said.

    Toomey called the policy an example of “politicians in a misguided way overriding the judgment of the law enforcement community.”

    “I do believe that the vast majority of Philadelphia police officers believe Philadelphia should not be a sanctuary city,” Toomey said. He said that opinion is based on “numerous conversations” with members of law enforcement.

    Toomey’s words came just days after Kenney met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who personally asked Kenney to reinstate limited police cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Kenney refused.

    Former Mayor Michael Nutter originally instituted Philly’s sanctuary city policy, meaning local police are directed to not alert federal Immigrations & Customs Enforcement (ICE) when an illegal immigrant is arrested, and to not follow “detainer holds” from ICE requesting individuals be held in detention.

    Nutter changed the policy just before leaving office to match new ICE guidelines, allowing cooperation involving individuals convicted of violent crimes or suspected of gang involvement or terrorism activity, to criticism from immigrant advocacy groups. Kenney undid that change on his first day in office.

    “Mayor Kenney refused to modify Philadelphia’s sanctuary city status even just to that very modest degree,” Toomey said.

    Toomey was joined by state Rep. Martina White, a Republican who represents parts of Northeast Philly and has taken intense flack for her legislation to end the city’s sanctuary city status. Her bill would also make the city “liable” for any crimes or damages committed by illegal immigrants.

    “I believe the safety of American citizens should be our number-one priority,” White said. “It is just too dangerous to allow this policy to continue.”

    New Sanctuary Movement (NSM), an immigrant advocacy group that has argued sanctuary city policies make Philly safer by encouraging undocumented residents to contact and cooperate with local police, decried Toomey’s statements.

    “If Philadelphia stops being a sanctuary city, we will not feel safe to leave our homes, or to live a normal life,” said Estela Hernandez, an undocumented mother, member of Visitation BVM Catholic Church and NSM leader, in a statement on Monday. “We will be very afraid. If Senator Toomey is Catholic, he should give people a second chance. He should put himself in our shoes, to understand our sufferings, and should know we love our kids the same as he loves his kids.”

    But Toomey cited as an example of the dangers of the policy the death of San Francisco woman Kate Steinle, who was killed by an illegal immigrant who had previously been arrested and released by San Francisco police under that city’s sanctuary city status.

    He also mentioned the case of Alberto Suarez, an illegal immigrant who allegedly grabbed a woman off the street at 8th and Race streets in 2010 and raped her against the wall of a nearby SEPTA station. Suarez is also charged with previously raping a Montgomery County teenager, and a Pittsburgh woman. The FBI tracked Suarez down in Mexico, where he was arrested in 2014.

    Toomey said the sanctuary city policy meant in Philadelphia, someone like Suarez, or someone suspected of links to terrorism, would essentially be protected from immigration authorities.

    “Philadelphia’s response is, ‘No thanks, we’ll release him, come back after he’s committed a crime,’” Toomey said. “It’s just too dangerous.”
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  2. #2
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    May 2006

    York County D.A. asks McGinty to not support 'sanctuary cities'

    2:26 p.m. EDT May 13, 2016
    Greg Gross

    A group of 20 top law enforcement officials from across the state, including York County District Attorney Tom Kearney, are urging Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Katie McGinty to join efforts to get Philadelphia to end its so-called "sanctuary city" policy.

    A letter signed by the officials and sent to McGinty calls ending Philadephia's policy a bipartisan issue.

    "As law enforcement officers, we believe public safety supersedes any and all political matters," the letter reads. "When we put aside our political differences and work together for the betterment of all Pennsylvanians, we can affect positive change that makes a real difference."

    The letter was sent shortly after U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, the Republican incumbent facing McGinty in the November election, held a press conference in Philadelphia on Monday.

    During the press conference, Toomey criticized Philadephia Mayor Jim Kenney's 4-month-old policy ordering city authorities not to comply with federal detainer requests unless they are supported by a judicial warrant and concern someone being released after a conviction for certain violent crimes.

    Sanctuary cities are jurisdiction in which a person isn't arrested for being an immigrant in the country illegally. The White House recently changed federal policy that could threaten the existence of sanctuary cities.

    Policy: President Barack Obama reversed course earlier this year when he directed the federal Bureau of Prisons to hand immigrant prisoners who are finishing their sentences and facing deportation over to immigration authorities automatically.

    "My intention is to say 'It is the law and we have to enforce it,'" Kearney said of why he signed the letter.

    The group is made up of district attorneys and sheriffs from counties across the state.

    McGinty's campaign responded to Toomey's press conference in a statement, calling it misleading.

    “Senator Toomey has absolutely no moral authority on this issue. No one thinks sanctuary cities are the solution, but it’s the result of the immigration crisis Senator Toomey made worse. Instead of trying to help Philadelphia solve this problem, he opposed comprehensive immigration reform ..." the statement said.
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  3. #3
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    May 2006

    Toomey, McGinty spar over Philadelphia's 'sanctuary city' policy

    BY TOM FONTAINE | Monday, May 16, 2016, 11:57 p.m.

    U.S. Senator Pat Toomey addresses the media in a press conference to call on his election opponent Katie McGinty to oppose Philadelphia's so-called sanctuary city policy.

    Pennsylvania's Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey blasted Democratic election opponent Katie McGinty on Monday for supporting a program that could allow violent illegal immigrants to remain free, while she said Toomey has rejected proposals to strengthen immigration policy.

    Toomey pointed to a letter signed last week by 20 elected sheriffs and district attorneys who agree with him, while McGinty released a letter signed by eight mayors siding with her.

    During a news conference in Downtown Pittsburgh, Toomey, from the Lehigh Valley, took aim at Philadelphia's “sanctuary city” policy that limits cooperation between city law enforcement and federal immigration officials.

    “This is very bad policy ... we've already seen very tragic consequences,” Toomey said, referring to the 2015 slaying of Kathryn Steinle, 32, in San Francisco.

    Toomey described accused gunman Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez as a seven-time felon who had been deported five times and was released from San Francisco police custody just three months before the fatal shooting. Because San Francisco is a sanctuary city, Toomey said, city police didn't notify immigration officials about Sanchez's release.

    Toomey couldn't cite similar incidents in Philadelphia, but described its sanctuary city policies as “very radical.” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has said full cooperation between police and immigration officials discourages immigrants from calling police or cooperating with investigators because they fear deportation, and it strains police resources.

    “Cooperation between local, state and federal law enforcement needs to be strengthened, not weakened. When there's no cooperation, that's how crimes don't get solved,” said Butler County Sheriff Michael T. Slupe, one of the officials who signed the letter to McGinty. Other signers from Western Pennsylvania included Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held and Mercer County District Attorney Miles Karson.

    McGinty, the daughter of a Philadelphia police officer, said in a statement that “sanctuary cities are not the solution” and that she supports increased cooperation between Philadelphia's law enforcement and immigration officials, including notifying the latter when certain violent offenders are in custody.

    Like Philadelphia, many local law enforcement agencies refuse to hold suspected illegal immigrants who would otherwise be released on detainers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents. The local agencies can be liable if someone is unjustly held on a detainer.

    Last year, Allegheny County paid $25,000 to settle a 2012 lawsuit filed by a West Mifflin woman who was held on an ICE detainer and spent a night in jail after a routine traffic stop.

    Toomey said he has proposed legislation that would remove the liability from local agencies and place it instead on the federal agency seeking the detainer. His legislation would cut federal funding to local law enforcement agencies that maintain sanctuary city policies.

    McGinty argued that if Toomey cared so much about illegal immigration, he would have supported a 2013 immigration reform bill that, among other things, would have provided a path for 11 million undocumented immigrants to become citizens and strengthened border security.

    In a letter signed by eight mayors from central and eastern Pennsylvania, the mayors said the 2013 bill “would have provided the solution and guidance for law enforcement that would make the very debate over sanctuary cities irrelevant.”

    By pointing to that reform bill, Toomey said McGinty “tries to change the subject.”
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