Following Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney's announcement that the City of Brotherly Love no longer will let U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement access its real-time arrest database, Pennsylvania's Republican gubernatorial nominee Scott Wagner went on the offensive.
“It’s a matter of public safety,” Wagner said in a statement Monday. “Our public officials’ greatest responsibility is to protect our citizens. The fact that Mayor Kenney is choosing to put his liberal political philosophy ahead of the safety of his citizens is unthinkable.”
Kenney — a far-left Democrat — sided with "Philadelphia’s great immigrant community" and said the so-called sanctuary city's agreement with ICE makes it "more difficult for our police department to solve crimes. I cannot in good conscience allow the agreement to continue.”
Wagner called for a new state law preventing similar actions and said as governor he would "work with the Legislature to pass a law preempting actions like Mayor Kenney’s."
How did Kenny's office react to Wagner's statement?
Kenney's office hit back at Wagner, saying the GOP hopeful was too "quick to ignore the facts of [Kenney's] decision" and is simply attempting to "pander to supporters," PennLive reported.
But Wagner wasn't done. On Tuesday, his campaign spokesman Andrew Romeo told TheBlaze that Wagner believes "sharing data with federal agencies is critical if we are going to enforce our immigration laws. He feels it's unthinkable that the mayor disagrees. Additionally, he will stand in firm opposition to sanctuary cities as governor, which will be a vast departure from Governor Wolf's and Mayor Kenney's positions on them."
Remember Kenney broke out in a little song and dance last month after a federal judge ruled the administration of President Donald Trump couldn’t halt grants to Philadelphia over its sanctuary city status.
What did Wagner say about his opponent, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf?
In his statement on Kenney's ICE decision, Wagner added that he hoped the state's Democratic governor Tom Wolf would push for a state law preempting actions akin to Kenney's but "all that we’ve seen from the governor is weak-willed pandering and cowardice."
Wolf's campaign spokeswoman Beth Melena responded by accusing Wagner of "lying about [Wolf's] record to score cheap political points," PennLive said.
"The Pennsylvania State Police share information about criminals with ICE and any federal law enforcement agency and that will not change," Melena noted to the outlet, adding that Wolf " opposes any effort to withhold information about criminals [from] federal law enforcement."