PHILADELPHIA (WTXF/AP) - Two Syrian families were denied entry to the U.S. at the PHL Airport on Saturday.
It happened as a result of President Trump's executive order in place, that is expected to cause more immigrants to be turned away from PHL.
Mayor Kenney responded to the incident, releasing this statement:
"I am sickened by reports that federal officials, without knowledge or cooperation of PHL Airport staff, detained and then turned away two Syrian families. By several accounts, these families waited months to obtain the proper documentation so they could come to our country legally. And still, they were sent back to a war-torn nation that has used chemical warfare against its own people. The Trump administration very well may have just given these families a death sentence.
Banning immigrants and refugees is not only unjustifiably cruel, it also puts Americans at home and serving abroad at great risk. By refusing to allow entry to any immigrants from these seven nations, even those who have helped American troops as interpreters and fixers, we are enabling anti-American radicalization and endangering the lives of many.
History has taught us that dark moments like this occur when we allow fear to silence our compassion and better judgement. Our city has welcomed approximately 260 refugees in recent years from these now-banned nations. We must speak out strongly against this executive order so that these new Philadelphians' friends and families can also find safe harbor in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection."
The mayor's office reiterated, "This order is carried out by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, in an area of PHL Airport that is controlled by U.S. Customs Border Patrol; airport personnel have no authority in this area."
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, the Archbishop of Newark is speaking out against Trump's ban on refugees from Muslim-majority countries.
Roman Catholic Cardinal Joseph Tobin also criticized Trump's recent move to crack down on so-called "sanctuary cities," which are locales that don't cooperate with immigration authorities. That came as leaders in Newark and Jersey City -- which are both in the Archdiocese -- reiterated that they will continue to protect residents from deportation.
Tobin said Trump's actions were "not rational acts" and called the orders "inhuman policies." He also vowed also to continue resettling refugees in the area.
Tobin has long been an advocate for immigrants. While serving as the Indianapolis Archbishop, he defied then Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who is now Trump's vice-president, in settling Syrian refugees in that city.