Pennsylvania lawmakers announced Monday six bills aimed at curbing illegal immigration and ensuring the economic and national security interests of law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants come first in the Keystone State.
“Article 4, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states that our government ‘shall guarantee to every state in this union a Republican form of government and shall protect each of them against invasion,'” said state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler), the sponsor of the bill.
“State and local law enforcement should not have the power to overrule the federal government, which has many more resources to draw upon to make these informed decisions.”
Metcalfe referred to President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on border security. “Clearly there is a new sheriff in the Oval Office who is serious about exercising his rightful authority to keep our nation safe from the illegal alien invasion. Now with the executive branch of the federal government no longer AWOL, it has never been more urgent for state lawmakers to actively do their part by advancing legislation to ensure that the economic and national security interests of law-abiding citizens and legal immigrants always come first,” he said.
The legislation includes House Bill 856, which would require all state employers and government entities to enroll in the federal government’s E-Verify program to ensure prospective employees have a valid Social Security number.
Failure to comply with HB 856 would result in the suspension of all state licenses, permits, and registrations held by any private business caught employing an illegal immigrant.
Another bill would require an applicant who is seeking state and local public benefits to provide valid proof of identity and/or eligibility. House Bill 826, sponsored by state Rep. Doyle Heffley (R-Carbon), would require any state agency to verify that the benefits are being paid only to those eligible through the Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement program operated by the Department of Homeland Security.
“Our public resources are not limitless, and my legislation would ensure that our hard-earned tax dollars are spent helping our legal residents. We are morally obligated to provide assistance to those who are legally residing in Pennsylvania, not illegal immigrants,” said Heffley.
Another bill that has not yet been numbered is the Professional Licensees Illegal Employment Act, which would revoke the license of any licensed professional, such as a nursing home administrator or a landscape architect, who knowingly employed or permitted the employment of an illegal immigrant.
“The business community needs to be doing their part and making sure those they hire are United States citizens or have a permit to work here,” said state Rep. Rob Kauffman, (R-Franklin). “Employers who circumnavigate the law and knowingly employ illegal immigrants would be penalized under my bill.”
The new House Bill 14 would prohibit any sanctuary campuses from receiving state funding.
House Bill 28 would establish criminal and economic sanctions against any illegal alien sanctuary city in the state. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in January publicly stated he would not comply with Trump’s executive order, and this bill would directly impact his city.
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The sixth bill not yet named but expected to be introduced in the upcoming week focuses on the apprehension and detention of illegal immigrants. State Rep. Ryan Warner’s (R-Fayette/Westmoreland) upcoming bill would require state and local law enforcement agencies to fully comply with federal law and cooperate with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
“Detainers are issued when the federal government has decided that illegal aliens should not be returned to the community,” Warner said. “State and local law enforcement should not have the power to overrule the federal government, which has many more resources to draw upon to make these informed decisions.”
Metcalfe outlines the impact of illegal immigration in Pennsylvania in documents on his website, including “stolen” jobs and benefits that have been costly to taxpayers. He estimates the legislation, if passed, could save taxpayers $1.4 billion annually.
In addition, crimes committed by illegal immigrants in Pennsylvania are detailed, and “stolen benefits” are broken down into education, welfare, and health care for illegal immigrants. Pennsylvania taxpayers spend $576 million per year to educate illegal alien children and $33 million for American children of illegal immigrants who are covered under the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. An additional $221 million a year is spent on child care for illegal alien children, according to Metcalfe’s released numbers.
Pennsylvania has approximately 180,000 illegal immigrants and that number has increased by 50,000 from 2009 to 2015, according to the latest statistics compiled by the Pew Hispanic Center.