- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

The city of Philadelphia, which will host the Democratic National Convention in July, rebuffed a request from the Obama administration Tuesday to end its status as a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants.

Mayor Jim Kenney rejected the appeal by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who said the move would aid public safety.

After their meeting at city hall, the mayor said in a statement that he “stressed the need for federal immigration reform.” He said he’s committed to preventing immigrants from being unduly targeted by law enforcement in Philadelphia.

Mr. Johnson told reporters later that he had a “good dialogue” with Mr. Kenney.

“Building this type of bridge cannot be accomplished in one meeting, and we’re going to keep at it,” Mr. Johnson told reporters.

In one of his first acts as mayor in January, Mr. Kenney, a Democrat, signed an executive order restoring the city’s previous policy of refusing almost all cooperation between city law-enforcement officials and federal immigration agents. His predecessor, Democratic Mayor Michael Nutter, had ended the city’s sanctuary policy last December, shortly before leaving office.

By reverting to Philadelphia’s status as a sanctuary city, Mr. Kenney refused to join DHS’s Priority Enforcement Program, which requires local authorities to notify Immigration and Customs Enforcement when illegal immigrants in custody are about to be released. Mr. Johnson has said that ICE only takes action against dangerous offenders.

There are more than 300 sanctuary cities in the U.S., including New York, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston and Dallas.

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