Where Allegheny County’s Harrisburg delegation stands on immigration

One member, Rep. Tony DeLuca, has again introduced a bill to penalize business owners who employ undocumented immigrants.

Adrian Juarez, 37 of Sewickley, marches as part of Pittsburgh's Day Without Immigrants rally in Beechview.

Adrian Juarez, 37 of Sewickley, marches as part of Pittsburgh's Day Without Immigrants rally in Beechview.

Jasmine Goldband
Sarah Anne Hughes

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:

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
Jay Costa Democrat No No No No
Randy Vulakovich Republican Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wayne D. Fontana Democrat No No No No


This rundown looks at:

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
Adam Ravenstahl Democrat No
Anita Astorino Kulik Democrat Not in office
Anthony M. DeLuca Democrat Did not vote Introducer
Dan Frankel Democrat No
Dan L. Miller Democrat No
Daniel J. Deasy Democrat No
Dom Costa Democrat Yes Yes Yes
Ed Gainey Democrat No
Eli Evankovich Republican Yes
Frank Dermody Democrat No
Harold A. English Republican Yes Yes
Harry Readshaw Democrat Yes Yes Yes
Jake Wheatley Jr. Democrat No
Jason Ortitay Republican Yes Yes
John Maher Republican Yes
Joseph F. Markosek Democrat Yes
Marc J. Gergely Democrat No
Mark Mustio Republican Yes Yes
Mike Turzai Republican Yes
Paul Costa Democrat No
Rick Saccone Republican Yes Yes
Robert F. Matzie Democrat No
William C. Kortz II Democrat Yes