PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney issued the following statement on President Trump’s executive order that caused two Syrian families to be denied entry to the United States upon arrival at PHL Airport. The executive order is expected to cause several more immigrants to be turned away from PHL in the days to come. This order is carried out by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, in an area of PHL Airport that is controlled by U.S. Customs Border Patrol; airport personnel have no authority in this area.

“I am sickened by reports that federal officials, without knowledge or cooperation of PHL Airport staff, detained and then turned away two Syrian families. By several accounts, these families waited months to obtain the proper documentation so they could come to our country legally. And still, they were sent back to a war-torn nation that has used chemical warfare against its own people. The Trump administration very well may have just given these families a death sentence.

“Banning immigrants and refugees is not only unjustifiably cruel, it also puts Americans at home and serving abroad at great risk. By refusing to allow entry to any immigrants from these seven nations, even those who have helped American troops as interpreters and fixers, we are enabling anti-American radicalization and endangering the lives of many.

“History has taught us that dark moments like this occur when we allow fear to silence our compassion and better judgement.  Our city has welcomed approximately 260 refugees in recent years from these now-banned nations. We must speak out strongly against this executive order so that these new Philadelphians’ friends and families can also find safe harbor in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.”