Councilman Kenney to Feds: Stop Chasing Down Undocumented Immigrants

By Randy LoBasso
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 7 | Posted Oct. 17, 2012

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Spicy rhetoric: Does this look like the face of a firebrand?

Who would have expected that last week’s Restaurant Industry Summit would give Councilman Jim Kenney a chance to get fired up about the immigration policies of Philadelphia, of Pennsylvania, and of the United States of America? But there he was at Tequilas, the popular Center City Mexican restaurant, going off on the injustice of treating immigrant workers harshly—“whether documented or undocumented, I really don’t care,” he told an audience of nonprofit reps, restaurant workers, owners and media. “After 9/11, everyone became a ‘terrorist’—including that Mexican guy on a bike going from his lawn care job to his restaurant job. He is no threat to me, whatsoever. He is no threat to this country, whatsoever.”

The Philadelphia Restaurant Opportunity Center convened the summit to release its new report on the state of Philadelphia’s restaurant industry, titled “Behind the Kitchen Door.” The report notes that while Philadelphia is, indeed, experiencing a restaurant renaissance—restaurant jobs have increased in Philly by 40 percent over the last decade—immigrant workers are serving as the backbone. There are now 113,000 Philadelphians who work in food service, and about 25 percent of them are foreign-born. More than 50 percent of the immigrants contacted for the study admitted they were not documented—and only 5 percent said they were.

According to the councilman, that’s just fine. “There’s no reason in the world why an ICE agent should be waiting in a police station when a person is being brought in because they were drunk or because a person was brought in because they were smoking a joint,” Kenney continued. “When they pull up to the station house and there’s an ICE agent waiting there, something is wrong.” He’d change things if he could, he said: “If I were mayor of the city, we wouldn’t participate with ICE, whatsoever. We wouldn’t be involved in bars. We wouldn’t be doing any of that stuff.”

A former dishwasher, busboy and bartender in the ’70s, Kenney said he gets passionate about immigration issues because he thinks of how the Irish experienced the same sort of discrimination as those of Mexican and Latino descent do today. Pennsylvania, he said, “is a terrible state in terms of a reputation, with [State Rep.] Daryl Metcalfe and some of those other lunatics in Harrisburg. I would wish that every anti-immigrant bill they pass, they would exempt the city of Philadelphia—and the good [immigrants kicked out of other cities] would come here.”

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COMMENTS

Comments 1 - 7 of 7
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1. Rob Rowello said... on Oct 17, 2012 at 12:01PM

“Jim - With all due respect, what a totally idiotic thing to say. The problem with undocumented illegals is that they PAY NO TAXES!!!

Just doing some back of the envelope math for you:

Assuming there are 113,000 Philadelphians who work in food service, there are 14,125 undocumented workers in this industry ALONE in the City of Philadelphia (113,000*25%*50%....your numbers). Assuming these people make $20,000 per year, that's over $282M in income the City is NOT collecting taxes on. In other words, at 4% wage tax, that's $11.3M in LOST TAX REVENUE.

Glad to see you're for protecting ILLEGALS and pissing away at least $11.3M in tax revenue on the backs of the hardworking families of Philadelphia.

You should be fired.”

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2. Randerson said... on Oct 19, 2012 at 03:30PM

“Nice Jim, keep supporting intentional lawbreakers. As a Philadelphia City Councilman, you have plenty of experience looking the other way and working hand in hand with criminals. You comment is not shocking, but does go to explain your level of integrity as a public servant in the City of Brotherly Thieves. Keep up the great work turning Philly into Detroit.”

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3. Anonymous said... on Oct 20, 2012 at 06:50AM


Just more proof of how unfit you are to be in office. Maybe those illegals voted you in. Can they trweet?”

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4. Robert Scherf said... on Oct 21, 2012 at 11:27AM

“Now I see why the crime rate is so high in Philadelphia when our own city council refuses to obey the law. Why isn't this council person arrested?

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5. Pat McDonough said... on Oct 22, 2012 at 09:10AM

“Im an immigrant, do it the right way. It took time, but it was done proper. I appreciate this country more than they do. You got to earn it, not steal it.”

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6. scottoconnor said... on Jun 14, 2013 at 03:45AM

“Its a nice jim, “There’s no reason in the world why an ICE agent should be waiting in a police station when a person is being brought in because they were drunk or because a person was brought in because they were smoking a joint".....

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7. chapel hill nc home builder said... on Jun 24, 2013 at 03:00AM

“According to me. When they pull up to the station house and there’s an ICE agent waiting there, something is wrong.”

[url=http://www.moveupnc.com/chapel_hill_new_homes]chapel hill nc home builder[/url]

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