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24 Mar 2017

Philadelphia joins other cities in legal action against travel ban; cities join states in effort to halt White House order

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March 24, 2017 Category: Local Posted by:

ABOVE PHOTO:  ACLU attorney speaks at Philadelphia’s City Hall representing two families who were victims of the Trump travel ban in January. (Photo Bill Z. Foster)

The City of Philadelphia is among two dozen U.S. cities that have filed a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief in the federal district court in Seattle, where six States have challenged President Donald Trump’s second attempt at restricting travel into the United States from six majority-Muslim nations is being heard.

“It is vitally important for us to join other cities to show that this revised second travel ban is still legally flawed,” said City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante.  “By joining in this brief, we want to inform the Court that we believe that the travel ban is not only illegal, but it also hurts Philadelphia and offends the values that make this City a welcoming place for refugees fleeing persecution and for immigrants seeking to start a new life.” 

The executive order restricting immigration prohibits people from six countries—Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen—from entering the U.S. for 90 days and halts the admission into the U.S. of people granted refugee status for 120 days while the Trump administration revises immigration screening procedures.

The U.S. District Court in Seattle is considering the States’ emergency motion to apply its existing injunction to the new executive order. The Cities’ amicus brief explains the vital contribution that immigrants make to our cities and country, points out that classifications based on religion and natural origin are presumptively invalid, and argues that the travel ban is misguided and unconstitutional.

“I’m proud that Philadelphia has joined with other cities throughout our nation to oppose the revised travel ban,” said Miriam Enriquez, Philadelphia’s Director of Immigrant Affairs.  “This reinforces Philadelphia’s commitment to protecting our immigrant and refugee communities, and to being a welcoming city to all.”

Joining Philadelphia in filing the brief are Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Central Falls, Rhode Island, Gary, Indiana, Ithaca, New York, Jersey City, New Jersey, Madison, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Montgomery County, Maryland, Oakland, Portland, Saint Paul, Minnesota, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, California, Santa Clara County, California, Santa Monica, California, Seattle, Skokie, Illinois, South Bend, Indiana and West Hollywood, California.

As Mayor Jim Kenney has pledged, the City of Philadelphia will continue to stand up against anything that threatens our city’s inclusive and diverse practices.  Building on that promise, the City of Philadelphia released a set of resources and guides on the on the amended travel ban, immigration and sanctuary cities.

The City of Philadelphia provided data to counsel that prepared the amicus brief on behalf of the Cities.  Among that data:

  • At least 197,563 (14 percent) of our residents are themselves immigrants.

In Philadelphia, approximately 197,563 (14 percent) of Philadelphians were born in other countries. 

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Selected Characteristics of the Native and Foreign-Born Populations, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.

  • There are approx. 108,010 foreign born workers in the Philadelphia workforce (out of 640,661).  (Note: the ACS only accounts for those who reside within county limits, and do not speak to those that may work in Philadelphia that may live outside of city limits.) Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Selected Characteristics of the Native and Foreign-Born Populations, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates.
  • In Philadelphia, in 2013, immigrants made up 14 percent of business owners, and 28 percent of the area’s “Main Street” business owners, including 23 percent of retail store owners and 34 percent of restaurant owners. Of approximately 13,000 immigrant business owners overall in metro Philadelphia, Iran is the 10th largest single country of birth for immigrant business owners.  Source: Americas Society/Council of the Americas and the Fiscal Policy Institute, Bringing Vitality to Main Street, How Immigrant Small Businesses Help Local Economies Grow, at 16 (Jan. 2015).
  • In the Philadelphia metropolitan statistical area (MSA), there are 40,171 immigrant entrepreneurs, making immigrants 43.1 percent more likely to be entrepreneurs than natives in this region. Source: New American Economy Philadelphia Metro Area Data.
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