Delco Sanctuary City Debate Continued

Delco Sanctuary City Debate Continued  — Delaware County Councilman John McBlain made a passionate reply to yesterday’s (Dec. 1) article regarding how the respected Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) — it has been cited by the Supreme Court and members have testified before Congress — listed Delco as a sanctuary for illegal aliens.

“Our Council has not and will not approve any policy that would qualify our county as any sort of ‘sanctuary’ status that would oppose the application of federal law,” McBlain said. “There’s no parsing words or being cute here – this website is flat out wrong.”

McBlain has demanded that CIS remove Delco from the list and retract the claim.

Bryan Griffith has since replied saying the data is correct and, further, “(Delco) has policy/legislation that limits or prohibits cooperation with ICE“. He said the county should take the matter up with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) if it wants the claim removed.

Delco Sanctuary City Debate ContinuedCIS defines “sanctuary city” as a jurisdiction that does not comply with ICE detainers for jailed or incarcerated illegal aliens as opposed to the more commonly understood one of a jurisdiction that has declared that it will protect undocumented immigrants by not prosecuting them solely for violating federal immigration laws in the country in which they are now living illegally.

The CIS definition is quite useful in that it exposes non-compliance that would otherwise be unknown to the public. It is  unfair, however, to use it in a fundamentalist way. Three declined detainers over 21 months ending Sept. 30, 2015 — which is what Delco is accused of having done — does not a sanctuary city make. We would be interested in learning specifically what  policy/legislation Delco has that “limits or prohibits cooperation with ICE”. None, however, is listed on the CIS map, unlike the listing for Philadelphia.

Chester County, which is also listed, has had but one declined detainer between Jan. 1, 2014 and Sept. 30, 2015. Montgomery County has had seven. Philadelphia County has had 171 and the city itself has declared itself to be a “sanctuary” via mayoral executive order.

The difference between Delco’s alleged sins and Philly’s known ones is huge and it is kind of unfair to put them on the same list.

UPDATE: A link has submitted by Bryan Griffith of Center for Immigration Studies to a Temple University Study from March 2015 says Delaware County has a written policy not to comply. As per the study:  A privately run company, Community Education Centers (CEC), is responsible for correctional services at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility in Delaware County. Dated August 5, 2014, CEC’s policy is to not hold individuals based solely on ICE detainers. CEC was unwilling to turn over the policy because CEC considers it to be “proprietary information,” but noted that arrangements can be made for “in person” review of the policy.

Delco Sanctuary City Debate Continued

17 thoughts on “Delco Sanctuary City Debate Continued”

      1. Bill, Thanks for letting the sunshine disinfect this one too. After all the BS, your update shows that Delco’s “leaders” are two faced. They are just like their cousins in Philly but don’t want those voters who would be disgusted to know it.

        Ask them Bill, if they are not a sanctuary jurisdiction in spite of the CEC policy you describe, then WHY are the detainers being declined.

  1. Bill, once again, neither Delaware County nor its prison operator, CEC, has any formal, informal, written or unwritten policy that would qualify the county as a “Sanctuary” jurisdiction. Mr. Griffith and his website are flat out wrong. I would note that I have contacted Ms. Vaughn from Mr. Griffith’s organization (the author of the original article) without response. The Center For Immigration Studies has never been in contact with Delaware County or any of its prison officials. When challenged, Mr. Griffith now wishes to hide behind the skirt of a Temple article written by students as their basis for applying this label. Mr. Griffith says the County should contact ICE – well, we have and ICE has no idea what his organization is talking about. As I informed in my previous post, Delaware County prison contacts ICE when a person who is an illegal immigrant is admitted to the prison. Similarly, if Delaware County Prison receives an ICE detainer or hold request, we honor that request and notify ICE when that individual is scheduled for discharge so that ICE may pick them up or take whatever action is necessary. As I cited before, ICE and the Delaware County Prison have a very good working relationship. Just ask them. In fact, ICE contracts with the Delaware County Prison to hold individuals detained at the Philadelphia International Airport for immigration violations. Delaware County always has and always will comply with all federal laws. Delaware County would not be a “Sanctuary” jurisdiction as defined in the proposed legislation that was pending (but not passed by both chambers) in the Pennsylvania General Assembly in the just concluded session. It is a shame that the shallow research and reporting by Mr. Griffith’s “think tank” and website has led to this confusion. If these remarks are not clear enough, I remain available to discuss for any Delaware County resident that may have any concerns about our policies or positions. It is an abomination for Delaware County to be lumped in with the illegal policies followed by places like Philadelphia and San Francisco, which policies have resulted in actual harm to those residents. I hope this finally corrects the record.

    1. Having a FOIA document from ICE stating that your county “has policy/legislation that limits or prohibits cooperation with ICE” is not shallow research. The Texas Tribune *did* ask ICE and below is the answer they received.

      Additionally, the Temple study is *self reported* information. It was a survey. Meaning someone in your County Government or at the CEC filled out a form and provided that information to Temple.

      The Center’s map and list is updated frequently and we can make changes. Do you have a written statement from ICE? You can contact me directly at if you have further information.

    2. John, if I were on County Council I would contact someone at the prison or Community Education Centers and find out exactly what the policy is, and ask them why Temple University is saying these things about them.

      The Temple study was done by J.D. candidates not undergrads. If it is inaccurate, someone should inform the school and demonstrate why. If the school refuses to fix it, the County should pass a resolution against the study to defend itself.

      Neither CIS nor Temple University Beasley School of Law are whackjob websites spouting craziness for clicks.

      Both are respected authorities. I have a nagging suspicion that Community Education Centers has or, at best, had this policy.

    3. Blah, blah, blah. Please just answer the question, why did Delco deny the ICE detainers. Why. That will be a real answer, please give it to us.

    4. I sent the below message to the ICE media contact email and If I don’t hear back I’ll try and call on Monday.

      The Center for Immigration Studies has accused Delaware County of being in non-compliance and is listing it as such on their website. County officials are denying it.

      Can you confirm who is right?

      Here are links to the stories about the controversy:

        1. FWIW, I heard back almost immediately from the ICE acting press secretary so I guess I can’t make fun of the government for not working Saturdays. She passed me on to someone in ICE’s Priority Enforcement Program. Hopefully, he gets in touch.

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