As places like Pittsburgh continue to show their support for immigrant communities in the face of a federal crackdown, Pennsylvania legislators are considering a bill to withhold state funding from so-called sanctuary cities.
The bill, introduced by Republican Sen. Guy Reschenthaler whose district includes Mt. Lebanon and Robinson Township, would penalize municipalities that fail to comply with orders from the feds to detain undocumented immigrants. That includes Pittsburgh, which hasn’t declared itself a sanctuary city but is considered one under the legislation. It was approved by the Pa. Senate 37-12 earlier this month.
That legislation is not the only immigration-related bill elected officials are considering this session.
Rep. Tony DeLuca, who represents Penn Hills, has again introduced a bill that would penalize business owners who employ undocumented persons by possibly suspending or revoking the business’ license and fining the owner $5,000. The bill is co-sponsored by another Allegheny County Democrat, Rep. Dom Costa of Stanton Heights, who has been criticized in the past by activists for his immigration record.
“The fact is that we keep talking [about] illegal immigrants,” DeLuca told The Incline on Friday, “but we don’t talk about people who employ them and take advantage of them.”
DeLuca said undocumented immigrants who are working in poor conditions are “afraid to say anything because they’ll be shipped back.”
The representative conceded that undocumented immigrants are “coming over to make a better life,” but said the bill goes after employers, not immigrants.
In a memo seeking co-sponsors, DeLuca wrote, “While we passed legislation requiring public works employers to use the E-Verify system to determine the employment eligibility of job applicants, it is important that we do everything we can to help preserve jobs for our citizens.”
DeLuca questioned why House Republicans would want to “continue talking about illegal immigrants and not go after” the business owners who employ them. “I would have thought this bill would be easy to move through,” he said.
This session’s legislation has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.
To see where Allegheny County’s delegation in Harrisburg stands on immigration, The Incline looked at votes on and co-sponsorship of bills over the past few years. (Don’t know who your senator and rep are? Find out using this tool.) You can also see the info in spreadsheet form here.
This rundown looks at:
- How the senator voted on the 2015-16 version of a bill to punish sanctuary cities
- How the senator voted on this session’s version of the sanctuary city bill, introduced by Allegheny County’s Reschenthaler
- How the senator voted on a non-binding resolution that urged Gov. Tom Wolf to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Pennsylvania
- How the senator voted during the 2015-16 session on Senate Bill 9, which would require “identification of lawful presence” in the U.S. to receive benefits. (The bill has been re-introduced this session.)
|PA Senator||Party||Vote on sanctuary city bill, October 2016||Vote on sanctuary city bill, February 2017||Vote on resolution to halt Syrian refugee resettlement, November 2015||Vote on bill to require proof of citizenship for benefits, February 2015|
|Guy Reschenthaler||Republican||Yes||Yes||Yes||Not in office|
|James R. Brewster||Democrat||No||No||Yes||Yes|
|Wayne D. Fontana||Democrat||No||No||No||No|
This rundown looks at:
- How the representative voted on the 2015-16 version of a bill to punish sanctuary cities
- If the representative co-sponsored House Bill 1024 during 2011-12 session or House Bill 748 during the 2015-16 session, which would penalize people who employ undocumented immigrants
- If the representative is co-sponsoring House Bill 14, which would punish so-called sanctuary campuses
- If the representative co-sponsored one or more of three (1, 2, 3) non-binding resolutions that urged Congress, the governor and the president to halt Syrian refugee resettlement
|PA Representative||Party||Vote on sanctuary city bill, Oct. 2016||Co-sponsor bill to penalize employers of undocumented immigrants, 2011-12 or 2015-16||Co-sponsor bill to penalize sanctuary campuses, 2017-18||Co-sponsor resolution to halt Syrian refugee resettlement|
|Anita Astorino Kulik||Democrat||Not in office|
|Anthony M. DeLuca||Democrat||Did not vote||Introducer|
|Dan L. Miller||Democrat||No|
|Daniel J. Deasy||Democrat||No|
|Harold A. English||Republican||Yes||Yes|
|Jake Wheatley Jr.||Democrat||No|
|Joseph F. Markosek||Democrat||Yes|
|Marc J. Gergely||Democrat||No|
|Robert F. Matzie||Democrat||No|
|William C. Kortz II||Democrat||Yes|