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“By issuing a detainer, ICE requests that a law-enforcement agency notify ICE before releasing an individual in order to allow ICE to assume custody,” she said.

A spokesman for Mr. Nutter said the mayor still “fully supports his executive order” in spite of the Garcia case and believes it has enhanced public safety.

“At the heart of his concerns, and the core reason for his order, is his desire to create a stronger context in which all Philadelphians will feel able and willing to share information with the Philadelphia Police Department about public safety matters,” said Nutter spokesman Mark McDonald. “This policy will enhance public safety by reducing the fear held by some that interacting with the government, particularly on a criminal investigation, could result in a detainer for themselves or their loved ones.”

The head of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, an advocacy group that lobbied for the executive order, didn’t respond to a request for comment. The group celebrated the mayor’s move last spring.

“This is a huge victory for immigrants and their allies, who have fought for years,” the group said in a statement at the time. “Philadelphia now has one of the most progressive policies in the country!”

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson met in May with groups seeking stronger enforcement of immigration laws, and some participants said Mr. Johnson seemed frustrated with local governments defying ICE.

But while the president has jealously guarded immigration as a federal prerogative against states like Arizona that planned crackdowns, he hasn’t spoken out against or filed lawsuits to block “sanctuary” cities. Instead, he has urged congressional Republicans to approve comprehensive immigration reform that would create a pathway to citizenship for most illegal immigrants currently in the U.S.

In the current border crisis, White House aides say Mr. Obama wants to see the laws enforced.

“The president’s committed to enforcing the law,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “The law will be rigorously applied.”

He added that the Senate bill, which House Republicans won’t consider, “would have a tangible impact on so many of the problems that we see in our immigration system, not just the problems that we’re seeing at the border.”

Republicans say that Mr. Obama’s nondeportation policies, plus other go-it-alone executive actions, mean they simply do not trust him to implement any security crackdown.

About 40,000 people annually re-enter the U.S. illegally after being caught trying to cross the border.

When he was arrested for the rape, Mr. Garcia was working at Tashan, an Indian restaurant in Philadelphia. The management said in a statement that Mr. Garcia had presented all required documents before he was hired as a part-time employee.

It’s unclear when Mr. Garcia returned to the U.S. after his deportation in June 2013, but apparently he came back quickly. Relatives told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he had been living in the city for about a year when he was arrested for the rape.

Conservative radio host Dom Giordano of Philadelphia wrote in the paper last week that the Obama and Nutter administrations share in the blame for the situation.

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