On Christmas Day, according to police, Josue Osorio-Quino brutally stabbed to death Juana Us-Perez in front of her children. He also stabbed, fortunately not fatally, her 14-year-old son, who had tried to protect his mother.

We have since learned from court documents that this murder suspect is an illegal alien. He has previously been deported.  Twice.

Osorio-Quino could have gone anywhere. Why did he come to Philadelphia? Because Mayor Kenney’s declaration that we are a sanctuary city acts like a magnet. 

Illegal aliens are rational. They have choices. The mayor’s policy forbids police from giving Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) advance notice of the pending release of illegal aliens arrested for crimes and forbids police from holding illegal aliens even when ICE has a detainer request for them.  

Further, the Philadelphia Adult Probation and Parole Department will not ask convicted criminals under their supervision about their immigration status or contact ICE if they learn that one of their charges is an illegal alien. This is notwithstanding the fact that the probation officers work for the First Judicial District and not the city and are not subject to the mayor’s executive order. However, they do depend upon the city for much of their funding. 

Against this background, if you were an illegal alien, particularly a criminal, where would you rather be?

Sanctuary city policies conflict with federal law. They put the safety of our citizens at risk. The Christmas Day murder is not Philadelphia’s first experience with illegal aliens and crime.

Sanctuary city policies conflict with federal law. They put the safety of our citizens at risk. The Christmas Day murder is not Philadelphia’s first experience with illegal aliens and crime.

Perhaps the most notorious case involves Juan Ramon Vasquez, an illegal alien who was arrested in the city in 2014 in a domestic assault case. ICE notified the city of a detainer request for him, but the city would not honor it and released him. He was arrested again for raping a child. 

The headline cases, however, are not unique. Illegal aliens are arrested regularly and released regularly. 

This sanctuary policy puts an additional burden on our taxpayers, in part because illegal aliens need city services. Philadelphia is, by many measures, the poorest big city in America. Generations of political leaders have enacted policies that drive jobs, businesses and taxpayers out, decimating our tax base. They care not at all for the poorest Philadelphians but only about pandering to the special interests that get them reelected. “We do have one of the most anti-business city governments in America,” David Cohen, senior executive vice president at Comcast, recently said. Our political leaders, who are directly responsible for these fiscal problems, should not be permitted to exacerbate them by increasing unnecessary spending.

What the city should be doing is increasing the number of legal immigrants into America. Philadelphia needs to be welcoming to them. Our economy may be booming, but one problem with unemployment at record lows is that we need more workers to take available jobs. And the good news is that there are hundreds of thousands of people waiting to legally emigrate here. How is it fair to them to tolerate those who have broken our laws and come here illegally? 

Two arguments are commonly advanced in favor of sanctuary city policies. First, some studies show that illegal aliens are no more likely than others to commit crimes. Probably true. That being said, so what? Common sense still tells us that attracting them here increases crime unnecessarily, and that cooperating with ICE would make us safer.

Second, some argue that the threat of being taken into custody makes it less likely that illegal aliens who are the victims of crime will cooperate with police. This may be true to a small degree, but most are probably reluctant to come forward even in a sanctuary city. And this simply does not outweigh the factors against the city’s sanctuary city policy.

The policy was bad when Mayor Nutter implemented it in 2015, against the wishes of the Obama administration. Give Nutter credit – he realized his mistake and changed the policy before he left office. Kenney was proud that one of his first actions as mayor was to re-implement the policy. 

Philadelphia’s sanctuary city policy is harming our city and its citizens. It must end. If the mayor is too concerned with keeping his progressive friends happy, City Council or the state Legislature can mandate a change.

Matt Wolfe is a former deputy attorney general and a Republican ward leader in West Philadelphia.  Matthew@Wolfe.org

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One thought on “Matt Wolfe: Christmas Day killing drives home danger of Philly’s sanctuary city policy”

  1. “We do have one of the most anti-business city governments in America,” David Cohen, senior executive vice president at Comcast, recently said”. Then why does Comcast continue to expand in Philly? On the other hand Comcast owned MSNBC encourages governments to have sanctuary cities.

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