Major U.S. cities, counties and states refuse to cooperate with ICE and the number is growing

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

Refusing to cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) may be the step in the right direction to signal to Congress that we need to move forward and pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform (“CIR”). If ICE does not have the cooperation of local police to hold “immigration detainees,” Congress may have to wake up and fix the underlying problems with our terribly out of date and broken system. Residents of cities and states all over the U.S. are standing up and saying NO!

City officials in several cities like Philadelphia are telling ICE they will no longer cooperate.

In response to local pressure to respond to the increase in immigrant arrivals cities like Philadelphia, Newark, N.J., Cook County (Chicago, IL) and in California launched ICE non-cooperation policies. This spring, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed an executive order[i] ending the city’s cooperation with ICE and ending the practice of municipalities holding suspected immigration offenders for periods of time while they await transfer to federal facilities. Nutter explained that their police officers could not adequately conduct investigations of crimes, protect, and serve its communities when undocumented residents are scared to talk to the police.

In response to Mayor Nutter’s order, Philadelphia Council member, Maria Quinones-Sanchez, strongly praised the announcement and stated, “This victory is so huge, not only for the city of Philadelphia, but for the rest of the country…and for those of you who do immigrant work and know the faces behind the stories, the people who suffered that we couldn’t save before.[ii]

Not everyone is happy about Philadelphia’s actions thwarting the feds, particularly ICE officials.

The lack of municipal locations to keep immigrants does not seem to bother ICE whose representatives say they will continue detaining undocumented immigrants. “The release of serious criminal offenders to the streets in a community, rather than to ICE custody, undermines ICE’s ability to protect public safety and impedes us from enforcing the nation’s immigration laws,[iii]” according to a spokesperson Nicole Navas.

The trend is spreading among cities, counties and states from coast to coast.

More municipal jurisdictions have adopted similar orders and ICE non-cooperation plans alongside their neighbors as the public servants listen to constituents who are fed up with revenue and resources being spent acting on the request and behalf of the federal government and the ICE who lack the facilities to house all the suspects of immigration violations.

The conversation continues in several communities of people demanding that Congress take responsibility for the problem and pass CIR which remains stuck in the House of Representatives with a pack of GOP objectors who are now lead by a tea party house majority leader after he beat Eric Cantor, one Republican who many thought would be able to help pass a reform deal.

Chicago immigration attorney, KiKi M. Mosley closely follows news and policy in immigration that affects everyone affected by our failed system.

Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the State of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.

[i], Philly police will no longer hold immigrants on behalf of ICE, by Emma Jacobs, Apr. 16, 2014.

[ii] NPR, More Municipalities Deny Federal Requests, Won’t Detain Immigrants, by Emma Jacobs, Jul. 5, 2014.

[iii] See Jacobs NPR article FNii