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PA-Sen: Toomey Attacks Kenney for Making Philly a “Sanctuary City”

Pat ToomeySenator Pat Toomey is picking a fight with an unexpected PA politician, the new Mayor of Philadelphia Jim Kenney.

The cause of Toomey’s ire is Kenney’s restoration of Philly’s status as a so-called “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants. A sanctuary city generally refers to efforts by a local government to not actively prosecute “illegal aliens” residing in the metropolis.

Sanctuary cities have recently become a hot issue in national politics.

After Donald Trump drew condemnation for his description of illegal immigrants in his presidential announcement speech, his campaign highlighted an incident that occurred a few weeks later.

Kathryn Steinle was killed while walking along the San Francisco pier by a bullet fired by an undocumented immigrant. It is still unclear how or why Juan Francisco Lopez-Sanchez fired the gun and he is currently awaiting trial. The fact that Lopez-Sanchez had been deported five times and the San Francisco was, and remains, a sanctuary city inflamed political opinion. Since then, the issue has become a cause celebre among conservatives.

It is in that context that Senator Toomey went after Mayor Kenney.

“The City of Philadelphia has unfortunately decided to defy both federal law and common sense at the expense of keeping Pennsylvanians safe,” said Senator Pat Toomey. “I strongly urge more Pennsylvania Democrats to call on Mayor Kenney to reconsider his decision to shield dangerous and violent criminals from federal authorities just because they are illegal immigrants.”

Toomey points out that Kenney’s action is out of step with a request from President Obama to ex-Mayor Michael Nutter last year to revoke Philly’s sanctuary status.

The Senator also mentioned recent comments from former Philadelphia Mayor (and Pennsylvania Governor) Ed Rendell.

“If I were Mayor, I wouldn’t do it,” Rendell told radio host Rich Zeoli. “I think we should obey the law and remember, it’s the Obama Administration that’s enforcing the deportation laws. So, I think I would’ve not made us a sanctuary city. However, Jim Kenney has been, for the longest time, even going back to when I was Mayor, he’s been an advocate for making Philadelphia a more attractive place for immigrants to come and settle and open up businesses. And I agree with that and think his policy is dead on but I think that it can only happen with legal immigrants.”

“Making us a sanctuary city is pretty much consistent with what Jim Kenney has stood for for the last 20 years,” he continued. “I think, overall, his concept and idea is correct. We do want to attract immigrants because immigrants bring a special vitality and a yearning and a willingness to do hard, difficult work. He brings those to the fore. But I think we should follow the law.”

Since Rendell is Chairman of Katie McGinty’s Senate campaign, Toomey’s team wants her to respond.

“Already, Katie McGinty’s campaign chairman Ed Rendell voiced disapproval at Mayor Kenney’s actions on Tuesday, which makes her decision last year to oppose common sense legislation prohibiting sanctuary cities even more glaring,” Toomey campaign spokesman Ted Kwong wrote.  “In the interest of public safety, Katie McGinty should join Senator Toomey and Governor Rendell in opposing Mayor Kenney’s decision on this crucial safety issue for all Pennsylvanians.”

PoliticsPA reached out to the McGinty campaign but they have not responded.

McGinty is running in the Democratic primary against former Congressman Joe Sestak and Braddock Mayor John Fetterman.

UPDATE: John Fetterman reached out to PoliticsPA in support of Kenney’s decision.

“I want to give my full-throated endorsement of Mayor Kenney’s decision,” the Braddock Mayor said. “Any Democrat that doesn’t agree with this policy is pandering to xenophobia. Sanctuary cities ensure the safety and well-being of everybody.”


31 Responses

  1. One of Toomey’s big weaknesses when he has to go up against Sestak is Toomey’s lack of foreign policy credentials. Toomey’s million dollar ads a few months ago make my point. Toomey is concerned that Admiral Sestak’s ( “Joe” to everyone who greets him and volunteers for him) service to our country is a strong vote getter. Hell, Toomey should be concerned. Toomey’s pathetic record in supporting veterans is well known. Joe’s service and 1st hand knowledge of the military is not something million dollars ads can undermine. Deficiencies and shortcomings of the other candidates in all things military are not about to be exploited for votes by any of them—especially Toomey. BTW, what did Toomey do after college in service to his nation? He’s full of patriotic bravado now, but knows little of what he speaks.

  2. Kenny is a morally twisted disgrace to our City. Sanctuary cities violate our law. An Islamic extremist seems to have
    Targeted one of our finest. Dem Perverted Progressives need to face reality that Clinton is a law violator, Bill is pervert who took advantage of women and Islamic extremism is a regretful reality(that is no reflection on many law abiding Dems and Muslims etc- but Nixon
    Looks like a saint when compared to Clintons!

  3. McGinty’s revolving door to $$-

    “Toomey fears the Admiral and his experience and his followers around the Commonwealth” LOL That is one of the funniest (and most insanely untrue) things I’ve read on this blog.

    If Toomey were allowed, he would donate half his campaign cash to help Sestak win the primary. The “Admiral” and his crew are more like the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

    I like Fetterman. But, as for Marcel’s comment, I don’t think there is going to be a steel-cage wrestling match for US Senate for Fetterman to out tough Toomey. 🙂

    Fetterman beating Toomey would requires a self-fulfilling prophesy about winning the Dem primary first to gain the momentum from the Primary. That’s going to be a tough battle.

    I’m looking forward to seeing Fetterman’s fundraising numbers, now that he had been in it a full fundraising quarter.

  4. Sanctuary cities are against the law. even though Obama asked them not to be a sanctuary city they refused. This is what the Democrats are all about, getting illegal votes and hiding ILLEGAL immigrants. It is illegal to rob a bank, by doing so you get arrested, why not arrest the illegals? Illegal means not legal period!!!!

  5. Besides gun control Sen. Toomey is doing an excellent job. Sanctuary cities are a slap in the face legal immigrants and law abiding Americans. Can’t wait to vote for his reelection.

  6. “Any Democrat that doesn’t agree with this policy is pandering to xenophobia. Sanctuary cities ensure the safety and well-being of everybody.”

    Does this statement bother anyone else? It basically says that, unless you fall in line and agree with not enforcing immigration laws, you’re basically a panderer to bigots? Man, talk about enforcing groupthink…

  7. dem, I am a supporter and have donated to Fetterman, but I have nothing to do with his campaign or staff. I wasn’t particularly impressed with his staff, actually… a bit abrasive.

    I was planning to vote for Sestak (and Bernie) until Fetterman got in the race. Fetterman and Sestak should both should go “negative” so people know what a hypocrite McGinty is.

    If she is such a public servant she should use some of the seven figures the coal and gas industry has put in her pocket and set up some programs that she suddenly claims to care so much about. The hypocrisy of Katie should and will disgust progressives when they learn the truth about her.

  8. @billy of course you were at his event. that’s what staffers do. didnt realize the mayor would run such a negative primary campaign.

  9. Billy – glad to hear he likes gay people. I look forward to his support for trans people. Personally and policy.

  10. ACDC, that’s another absurd accusation. Fetterman has spent his entire career working for marginalized people. That’s what he does and who he lives with while McGinty and Sestak live in million dollar homes with other rich white people. Good for him if he wasn’t a backslapping schmoozer at PA society.

    I’ve been to a campaign event as well and it was a packed house with a line of people waiting to talk to him. The room was totally engaged with people even tearing up when he spoke about the events of his life that made him get into public service.

    Please tell us about all the marginalized people McGinty was looking out for while taking a million dollars from Columbia gas… or while Sestak was walking across the state for whatever bizarre reason. Fetterman is the only public servant and that is why I am supporting him.

  11. Jon Bokklo–if you don’t know what Sen. Toomey stands for, how can you call him a coward? And speaking of shills, Mayor Kenney is chief among them on the liberal side. He ran a sickeningly populist campaign (not that it would matter in Philadelphia–They’d vote for Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam if they had (D) after their names on the ballot.

  12. Anne, that is an absurd accusation. Fetterman started performing gay marriages in 2013 when it was still illegal and has performed dozens since.

    Here’s an excerpt from article on it:

    “Last week’s Commonwealth Court ruling ordering the county to stop issuing licenses won’t stop him, either, as long as the couples got their licenses legally.

    “If a couple wants to go ahead and do it, I would as well,” Fetterman, 44, said after the ruling Thursday. “If the Health Department wants to send the gay police to come and get me, they’re more than welcome to do that.”

    Fetterman said he was not afraid to do what he thinks is right – even if the state thinks he is wrong.

    “Somebody could say it’s not your call to make,” he said. But when it comes to matters of civil disobedience, “Well, it’s my choice.”

    To him, the state law defining legal marriage as between a man and a woman is unconstitutional.”

    Nobody has been a more vocal proponent for the LGBT community. Can you imagine Sestak or McGinty taking a stand like that? Not a chance.

  13. He didn’t appear very friendly when avoiding speaking to my friends. Being gay accepting doesn’t always translate to being trans accepting. Most pols would have asked them for their votes at least.

  14. Anne, that’s definitely one of the more off-base criticisms of Fetterman I’ve heard so far. The dude marries LGBT couples in his home on a pretty regular basis from what I’ve read. And he was the first elected official in PA to do so–when it was still illegal.

  15. Fetterman seems really uncomfortable around all people. Particularly those from marginalized groups. But in general he just does not know how to move around a crowd. I saw him at PA Society and one of his bar stops and he just stands there in the corner hoping the people will come to him. Staff does nothing. Guys like Rendell, Evans, Pasquale, Sestak or even crook Mccord try and shake every hand they can. Fetterman’s handlers should probably help him out but they just stand there on their phones in the silly tux t-shirts trying to look cool.

  16. Fetterman seems really uncomfortable around some lgb – t folks. He may need to acculturate to the big city.

  17. Marcel Groen has a point. In the year of the anti-Establishment Outsider and common man candidate, Fetterman might be the guy. In any event, Pat Toomey is, in my view, very vulnerable.

    In my view, Pat Toomey loses in November because, among other reasons, the state Democratic party is run by competent operatives who have built a wide and deep organization.
    Marcel Groen was chair of the Montgomery County Democratic party which took political control of Montgomery County Board of Commissioners with the able help of the ambitious Josh Shapiro.

    Against this organization are the incompetent, self-serving losers Rob Gleason and Bob Asher and their network of consultants making millions losing elections.

  18. Anyone catch the TribLive article where the Dem State Party Leader Marcel Groen said Fetterman will be the strongest candidate for the Dems in the general election?

    “I think he’d be the toughest candidate in the general” against U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Groen said during a visit with reporters and editors. “In a society looking for different, he could catch on.”

    That’s kind of a big deal, no?

  19. McGinty’s revolving door: Vote for Sestak? Are you kidding–he agrees with Toomey on Sanctuary cities… he’s running in the wrong party’s primary.

    Go Fetterman.

  20. Pat Toomey is a coward. I don’t know what he stands for. I and many folks I know have tried to lobby his office on many national issues. It is difficult to get his office and he does not respond. All he does is send off news bites and does not open hmself to questions from constituents. Shame on him!

    Hope Pat Toomey is run out of office this November!

  21. Patrick Toomey is a shill. He has tried to present his own gun control bill THREE times now and so far no interest. This is his first term and he has shown he sides with those who are bent on destroying America as we know it. Why re-elect him, guaranteeing him a 6 digit salary, and life time medical care when he stands for destroying our 2nd Amendment Rights. For once lets send him and all others who betray us a message. They work for us!!!

  22. I am sure McGinty will obey Rendell, and her handlers, and respond accordingly. She is in way over her head— as commenters previously here have opined. She is way out of her league and everyone knows it. Toomey will sink her—so vote for Sestak in the primary—-Toomey fears the Admiral and his experience and his followers around the Commonwealth. Vote Sestak!

  23. No sense of humor…he was only joking…not protecting outlaws from another country…haha

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