Bob Casey Says He Doesn't Support Sanctuary Cities—But He Spoke at an Event for a Group That Loves Them

Sen. Bob Casey (Mark Makela/Getty Images)
March 26, 2024

Sen. Bob Casey says he opposes sanctuary cities, but the Pennsylvania Democrat spoke last year at an event for a group that wants American mayors to make their cities havens for illegal aliens.

Casey spoke on Aug. 10, 2023, at an annual conference for the Mayors Innovation Project, which bills itself a "national learning network" for mayors to develop policies to deal with "climate change, racial equity, economic revitalization, housing, and more." The group discourages mayors from cooperating with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and supports instituting sanctuary policies to help create "immigrant-friendly cities."

"Do not participate in the enforcement of federal civil immigration law," the group tells mayors.

The Mayors Innovation Project also urged mayors to provide aliens with government-issued IDs, regardless of "immigration or criminal status." The group highlighted a Maryland city that lets non-citizens vote in local elections.

The project's agenda contradicts Casey's claims to oppose sanctuary cities. A spokesman for Casey said this month that the senator "doesn't support sanctuary cities and believes all jurisdictions must cooperate with ICE and law enforcement at all levels."

It marks a pattern of Casey appearing alongside groups whose causes he claims to oppose. Casey appeared at a campaign event last week organized by Indivisible Philadelphia, which has called to defund police departments, the Washington Free Beacon reported. Indivisible Philadelphia's parent organization, the Indivisible Project, has called to defund Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Casey's left-wing affiliations have become a focal point in his campaign for reelection. Republican candidate Dave McCormick blasted Casey for appearing at the Indivisible Philadelphia event and has accused the Democrat of supporting soft immigration policies.

Casey voted against a 2016 bill that would cut federal funding for sanctuary cities. He also voted in 2016 against Kate's Law, which would stiffen criminal penalties for illegal aliens with multiple illegal entries into the United States.

Casey spoke at the Mayors Innovation Project alongside Sen. John Fetterman (D., Pa.) and Scranton mayor Paige Cognetti, a member of the group's steering committee. Cognetti, a Democrat, supports relaxed immigration policies. Citing the coronavirus pandemic, Cognetti in 2021 urged President Joe Biden to expedite citizenship for millions of illegal aliens, including "essential workers, and their families."

During the event, Casey praised Cognetti for her "willingness to lead in a really difficult job in a difficult time for our city, for our Commonwealth, for our country."

"So, mayor, thank you for your leadership here in Scranton," he said.