Philadelphia’s district attorney’s office has consulted on numerous criminal cases involving non-citizens charged with violent crimes with the goal of helping those charged avoid deportation.
Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner created the role of immigration counsel soon after his election in 2017 and hired former immigration attorney Caleb Arnold to fill the spot. Krasner explained that the role of the immigration counsel is to help non-citizens avoid the “immigration consequences” of some crimes, meaning deportation. Federal law mandates that non-citizens, whether legal or illegal, be deported if convicted of certain crimes.
While explaining the role of the new office, Krasner said that the immigration counsel would work with prosecutors pursuing charges that are “not that serious” against non-citizens but could result in the defendant’s deportation if convicted.
“In cases that are not that serious, but have very serious immigration consequences, [defendants] will be offered the opportunity to address their case on a similar, equally serious but not identical charge,” Krasner said in January 2018.
Arnold has consulted on dozens of cases involving crimes such as attempted murder, rape, and rape of a child, according to a list of case charges obtained by the conservative Immigration Reform Law Institute and viewed by The Daily Wire.
In his first year on the job, Arnold consulted on roughly 300 cases and recommended changing plea deals in 120 of them. As a local outlet noted at the time, “The remaining cases are either still open, had no immigration consequence, or were too serious to change. Arnold does not consider high-level offenses, such as homicides and sex crimes.”
The list of charges obtained by IRLI shows Arnold has consulted on cases involving charges such as rape, murder, and rape of a child, however. It is not known whether Arnold recommended a plea agreement or a change in the charges as a result of those consultations.
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office has endorsed so-called sanctuary city policies that have protected illegal immigrants charged with violent crimes from deportation. In one case, Krasner’s office defied repeated requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain a Mexican national and illegal immigrant facing a litany of charges after being arrested at least half a dozen times. As The Daily Caller New Foundation reported in February 2020:
ICE released a scathing press statement on Friday, slamming Philadelphia for releasing from its custody an illegal alien on three separate occasions, ignoring an ICE detainer request each time. The 36-year-old Mexican national, whom the agency did not identify, had been arrested at least six times since 2018.
The individual was arrested for a laundry list of offenses: robbery, aggravated and simple assault, terroristic threats, receiving stolen property, disorderly conduct, failure to appear and other alleged crimes.
Despite these crimes, Philadelphia authorities kept releasing him and refused to honor requests by federal immigration authorities to hold him long enough for an ICE agent to arrive and take him into federal custody.
From its creating in January 2018 to November 2020, the immigration counsel’s office was paid roughly $234,000 in taxpayer funds, according to documents obtained by IRLI. Arnold is the only person employed in the office.
Krasner was elected to office in 2017 with $1.7 million worth of support from the Philadelphia Justice & Public Safety, a group backed by the progressive financier George Soros.
“These are outrageous examples of how our elections are being manipulated by wealthy donors with extreme anti-borders agendas,” Dale Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI, said in a statement. “While these district attorneys claim they are trying to bring justice to our legal system, they are actually putting the residents of their communities at great risk by allowing violent criminals to escape deportation.”
The Philadelphia district attorney’s office did not immediately return a request for comment.