LARRY KRASNER ANNOUNCES APPOINTMENT OF IMMIGRATION COUNSEL FOR PHILADELPHIA DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

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FOR IMMIEDATE RELEASE
January 25th, 2018

CONTACT:
Ben Waxman, 215-686-8711, Benjamin.Waxman@Phila.gov

 

PHILADELPHIA (January 25, 2017) – Philadelphia District Attorney today announced the appointment of Caleb U. Arnold as Immigration Counsel to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office (DAO). Arnold, who has over ten years of legal experience working on immigration issues, will advise the District Attorney and DAO staff on best practices to protect the rights of immigrants interacting with the criminal justice system. (PLEASE NOTE: Caleb Arnold uses the pronouns They / Them)

District Attorney Larry Krasner said, “I am thrilled today to announce the appointment of Caleb Arnold as Immigration Counsel to the Philadelphia District Attorney. Caleb is the perfect person to help implement my agenda of equal justice and civil rights for all. Together, we will ensure that all people are treated fairly by the justice system regardless of their immigration status. This is also part of our overall effort to protect the most vulnerable and ensure they are able participate as witnesses or complainants in the criminal justice system.”

Part of Arnold’s work will be to help build relationships with immigrant communities to ensure that witnesses and victims feel safe participating in the process regardless of immigration status. They will also advise prosecutors on minimizing the impact of criminal convictions on immigration status, especially for low-level offenders who pose no threat to public safety.

Immigration Counsel Caleb Arnold said, “I am so excited for this opportunity to help develop systematic changes that recognize the collateral consequences to someone’s immigration status as we determine just outcomes.  I am also eager the build alliances and trust with immigrant communities in Philadelphia, and develop policy and practices so that all witnesses and victims are able to safely get the help they need and safely participate in the criminal justice process.”

DA Krasner was first introduced to the concept of appointing immigration counsel when visiting with prosecutors in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office back in June of 2017. Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez has already implemented a policy that aims to prevent collateral consequences of convictions by ensuring that Assistant District Attorneys (ADAs) are aware of immigration status.

Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez said, “I commend DA Larry Krasner for his leadership and courage in adopting a policy that protects immigrants from disproportional consequences of criminal convictions and for sending a message that the justice system must treat everyone fairly, regardless of status. The success of a similar policy in Brooklyn – where our special counsels advised in over 200 cases so far to reach immigration-neutral outcomes – proves that greater equity does not jeopardize public safety. In the face of misguided federal policies, we need more local prosecutors who are willing to take a stand and do what’s right, and I’m pleased that DA Krasner is helping lead this growing movement.”

Erika Almiron, Executive Director of Juntos said, “The hiring of Caleb Arnold as the first ever immigration counsel for the District Attorney’s office marks an important milestone in the way that our city’s criminal justice system interacts with our immigrant communities. Far too often an interaction with our city’s criminal justice system has been the catalyst for many of our loved ones to be entered into deportation proceedings due to the overcharges given by previous administrations and overzealous former DAs who believed more in punishment rather than restorative justice. We recognize this new position as a first step and look forward to working with Caleb Arnold, District Attorney Larry Krasner and the rest of the DA’s office to ensure that threat of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is purged from all aspects of our criminal justice system.”

Catheryn Miller-Wilson, Executive Director of Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society of Pennsylvania said, “We must allow the criminal justice system to do its job. If victims, witnesses and defendants are afraid to participate in the criminal justice system then all of our communities suffer.  Immigration status questions have no place in the criminal justice system and we applaud the DA for working to take immigration status out of the conversation.”

Golnaz Fakhimi, Immigrant Rights Attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union said, “We commend District Attorney Krasner for his sensitivity to community fears about immigration consequences for non-citizen participants in the criminal justice system.  When an accused person, complainant, or witness is a non-citizen, criminal justice contact can carry risk of devastating immigration consequences. And the effects can extend into the family and community at large.  With this appointment, District Attorney Krasner is demonstrating good faith to his community.”

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