A taxpayer-funded legal counsel in Philadelphia whose job is to help illegal immigrants avoid deportation has consulted defendants charged with rape of a child, murder, and other violent crimes, according to records obtained by the conservative Immigration Reform Law Institute.
Philadelphia district attorney Larry Krasner appointed former immigration attorney Caleb Arnold to the new position of Immigration Counsel in early 2018 shortly after he took office. Krasner initially said Arnold would work to achieve immigration-neutral outcomes, which in practice means evaluating and modifying charges against illegal immigrants to ensure their conviction won’t result in their deportation.
Krasner, an avowed progressive, said in a press release announcing Arnold’s appointment that the Immigration Counsel would focus on cases involving “low-level offenders who pose no threat to public safety.”
Krasner also said in 2018 that Arnold would only work on “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.”
And Arnold told a local news outlet in 2018 that as Immigration Counsel, cases against illegal immigrants that face high-level offenses like homicides and sex crimes would not be considered.
But a case list obtained by the IRLI through a public records request and provided to the Daily Caller News Foundation shows that Arnold has consulted in a myriad of cases in which illegal immigrants were accused of committing those exact crimes, including rape, rape of a child, forcible rape, sex assault, strangulation, arson and murder.
Counsel to the DA Maritza Ming and members of our Immigrant Affairs Unit were proud to travel to Philadelphia today to assist @philadao, DA Krasner and his new Counsel Caleb Arnold in devising a policy to protect immigrants from unfair collateral consequences, like deportation. pic.twitter.com/OBV6vvXqqB
— DA Eric Gonzalez (@BrooklynDA) January 25, 2018
“This raises the question that if Arnold does not consider ‘high-level offenses, such as homicides and sex crimes,’ then why are non-citizens charged with these very crimes on the list that was exclusively obtained by IRLI?” the IRLI said in a press release Tuesday.
Arnold is the sole employee of the Immigration Counsel’s office, which has received nearly $234,000 in taxpayer funds from January 2018 through November 2020, according to the IRLI.
Krasner’s office did immediately a request for comment.
The Pennsylvania Office of Open Records ordered Krasner’s office to provide the IRLI with a copy of Arnold’s case list on Dec. 18 after his office initially denied the open records request, according to an email shared with the DCNF.
Two days later, on Dec. 20, Krasner’s office published a profile on Arnold in December that seemingly justified Arnold’s involvement in cases in which illegal immigrants were charged with violent felonies.
The profile stated that Arnold works to ensure that defendants accused with “serious violent crimes” are not deported so they can stay in the United States to face justice.
“That victim doesn’t get any resolution [if a defendant is deported before trial]. All they know is their attacker is free in some other country to do whatever they want to do. Talk about exacerbating trauma.”