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January 26, 2017

Ahead of Trump visit, Kenney says: 'All are welcome here'

Ahead of President Donald Trump's visit to Philadelphia Thursday, Mayor Jim Kenney had a thought he wanted to share with the rest of the city:

"We are the City of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection. All are welcome here. No matter where you're coming from."

Kenney tweeted the message out late Wednesday night, on the eve of Trump's visit to the annual Republican House Senate Leadership Conference. Thousands of protesters are expected to saturate Philadelphia during the conference.

Kenney also wrote an editorial published in the Inquirer on Thursday that urged Philadelphians to "demonstrate how a place built on the foundation of equality, diversity and inclusion can thrive."

"We will face an important test of our unique responsibility on Thursday, as we welcome President Trump, Vice President Pence, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and the members of the Republican U.S. House and Senate Caucuses to Philadelphia for a policy retreat," he wrote.

On Wednesday afternoon, Trump signed an executive order that would cease federal funding to sanctuary cities like Philadelphia.

Lauren Hitt, Kenney's spokesperson, said he had no plans to change the city's status that protects undocumented immigrants from unauthorized search and deportation.

She said that the order "was simply a directive and did not even make clear if there were any significant funding streams that the Trump administration could cut off to Philadelphia."

At least one permit for an estimated 3,000 protesters has been filed with the city from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Thursday, though droves of people crowded Center City Wednesday night for an event called "Queer Rage(r): Guerrilla Dance Party," which called for people to dance outside the Loews Hotel – where the conference is scheduled – to show support for health care laws that Trump has vowed to roll back. 

An event called "Republican Retreat in Philly: Surround the Loews Hotel/Perimeter" is scheduled from 4-7 p.m. Thursday.

"Our intention is to make good on our promise to surround Loews hotel, to let the politicians know that we are UNGOVERNABLE!" the event's Facebook page reads. 

Read Kenney's full editorial here