Councilmember Helen Gym Helps Spearhead National Effort to Pardon & Protect as many as 200,000 Immigrants
PHILADELPHIA—12/20/16—Today, a national coalition of immigrant rights, labor and community organizations, which Councilmember Helen Gym (At Large) and colleagues from Local Progress helped to spearhead, sent a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him to protect hundreds of thousands of immigrant families. This coalition asked the president to issue a pardon for lawfully present immigrants with years-old or low-level criminal offenses. The letter from 102 organizations representing hundreds of thousands of members across the 50 states was featured in the New York Times this morning.
“I’m proud to be part of this critical effort to protect immigrant Americans and their families. The issues they face are not new to Philadelphia. Earlier this year, City Council held hearings on the impact of immigration laws that doubly-punish Americans who came here as refugees and immigrants. We heard powerful and heart wrenching stories of families torn apart, of parents unable to ever return home to see their families,” said Gym. “What’s clear is that our president can and should use the powers he has while in office to protect these Americans and their families. It’s not only within the president’s power, it’s also within his agenda. President Obama has a chance to leave a lasting mark on our country, to show Americans what it means to live up to our ideals of justice, inclusion, and second chances.”
Categorical pardons have been issued in the past, most recently by Jimmy Carter. President Obama has the opportunity to grant pardons until he leaves office.
Contact: Ian Gavigan (Ian.Gavigan@Phila.gov)
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