PHILADELPHIA - The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania applauded Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney’s decision to end federal immigration authorities’ access to the city’s Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System, or PARS, which the mayor announced at a press conference this afternoon.

PARS is a city-run database that logs a wide range of personal information about people who have been arrested by police in Philadelphia, including address, country of origin, and Social Security number. Immigration advocates in Philadelphia have been pushing to end PARS access for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

The following can be attributed to Golnaz Fakhimi, immigrants’ rights attorney for the ACLU of Pennsylvania:

“The PARS database gives ICE a wide range of information about the people of Philadelphia, none of which is actually relevant to immigration enforcement. The mere access to that data, which is captured in real-time, enabled ICE to engage in surveillance, racial profiling, and fishing expeditions.

“The Philadelphia Field Office of ICE has been the most aggressive in the country.  Its costly actions have greatly damaged our communities, without making them safer, and have resulted in the unjust and permanent separation of families.  Access to the PARS database greased the wheels for ICE’s strong-arm tactics.

“We are grateful to Mayor Kenney for this decisive action, and we are especially grateful to the many advocates who have worked together to push for this to happen.”