Mayor Kenney Submits Letter of Consent to Trump Administration to Allow for Continued Resettling of Refugees in Philadelphia

City joins amicus brief in support of a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s Executive Order

PHILADELPHIA — Mayor Kenney announced today that he has submitted an official letter on behalf of the City of Philadelphia to Secretary Pompeo and the Trump Administration, notifying them that Philadelphia consents to initial refugee resettlement in the city. Executive Order 13888—“On Enhancing State and Local Involvement in Resettlement”—was issued by President Trump on September 26, 2019 and requires governors and county-level executives to sign letters indicating that they still want their communities to receive refugees.

In addition to the formal letter, requested by the federal government, Mayor Kenney issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s Executive Order on resettling refugees into American communities:

“Philadelphia is a city that welcomes all who face persecution and danger. Tolerance and acceptance are among our founding values, and diversity is one of Philadelphia’s greatest strengths. Immigrants and refugees have helped to build our city and continue to make it grow and thrive. We are committed to keeping our doors open to refugees—offering hope, freedom, and the possibility to start a new life in our city. Over the years, the United States of America has accepted countless refugees who were fleeing violence. Philadelphia will honor our country’s tradition, welcoming those who seek a safe haven. We urge surrounding counties to support refugees and help to resettle these vulnerable families. We join Governor Wolf in his commitment, and if other states and counties reject these families, our city will be there for them.”

The City of Philadelphia also joined an amicus brief, along with 25 other cities and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, in support of a lawsuit filed by HIAS, Church World Service (CWS) and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) challenging the legality of Executive Order 13888. The amicus brief addresses the deep incompatibility between the Executive Order and the role of cities under the Refugee Act, which reflects Congress’ intent to settle refugees in communities in which they will thrive. Congress specifically declined to give local or state jurisdictions a simple veto, and the Executive Order’s design fundamentally undermines Congress’ intent.