Five new bills would shut off public benefits, employment access and other economic faucets contributing to Pennsylvania's illegal immigrant invasion
HARRISBURG-With a March 2007 Susquehanna Polling and Research survey revealing that 61 percent of Americans rate the federal government's efforts to curb illegal immigration as ineffective, a bipartisan coalition led by Representative Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) held a press conference at the state Capitol on Wednesday to introduce an all encompassing package of reform legislation designed to address this national crisis at the state level.
"A February 2007 report from Family Security Matters revealed that the estimated 2,158 murders committed annually by illegal aliens have now resulted in the deaths of more American citizens than the Iraq War," said Metcalfe. "As an American military veteran who, at the age of 19, defended the border between East and West Germany during the Cold War, I am appalled that our federal government continues to ignore its Constitutional duty to defend the liberty, property and ultimately the lives of American citizens from illegal alien invaders.
"Confronting the epidemic of illegal immigration head-on in the Keystone State involves shutting off the economic faucets of jobs and public benefits that are luring illegal aliens across the border in the first place through each of the common sense reforms contained in the National Security Begins at Home package. Once the initial draw is severed at the source, these illegal invaders will have no choice but to go home on their own."
Endorsed by U.S. Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus Chairman, Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-Colorado), Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta, Team America, 9/11 Families for a Secure America and You Don't Speak for Me, the National Security Begins at Home package is designed to restore safety and security to Pennsylvania communities by:
- Requiring Mandatory Employer Enrollment in the Federal Social Security Basic Pilot New Employee Verification Program (House Bill 750)
Sponsored by Representative Metcalfe, this legislation would require all employers in the Commonwealth, including governmental bodies, to enroll in the free Basic Pilot Program established by the federal government and verify social security numbers of prospective employees. Failure to comply would result in the immediate suspension of all applicable business licenses, permits, registrations and certificates held by a private business.
- Negotiating Law Enforcement Memorandum of Understanding (House Bill 751)
Several states have worked with the federal government to provide additional law
enforcement resources to assist with this national security issue. Sponsored by Representative Tom Creighton (R-Lancaster) this legislation would authorize the Pennsylvania State Police to negotiate a memorandum of understanding with the U. S. Department of Justice or U. S. Department of Homeland Security concerning enforcement of federal immigration and customs laws. This proposal was approved by a vote of 137-48 during last session's Committee of the Whole on Crime and Violence.
- Maintaining Criminal History Records of Previously Detained Illegal Immigrants (House Bill 752)
Criminal activity by illegal immigrants has been at the heart of the nationwide debate over the presence of unauthorized individuals within our borders. Sponsored by Representative Creighton, this legislation would authorize citizenship or immigration status of those arrested to be included in the repository of criminal history records maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police.
- Terminating the Professional License of Any Employer That Knowingly Hires An Illegal Alien (House Bill 753)
Federal immigration law limits the remedies which a state can use to discourage employment of unauthorized aliens. Federal law does, however, allow the use of civil sanctions "through licensing and similar laws." Sponsored by Representative Mark Mustio (R-Allegheny), the Professional Licensees Illegal Employment Act would revoke the license of any licensed professional, such as a nursing home administrator or a landscape architect, that knowingly employed or permitted the employment of an unauthorized alien.
- Eliminating All Non-Medical Emergency, Public Benefits for Illegal Aliens
(House Bill 754)
Sponsored by Representative Scott Perry (R-York/Cumberland), the Protection of Public Benefits Act would eliminate all non-medical-emergency public benefits for illegal aliens, including welfare, education and unemployment benefits. Covered entities (government and private) would have to verify the lawful presence in the United States of any applicant for benefits.
"I authored legislation to bring the federal and state government together in an effort to better enforce immigration laws and provide State Police with information on citizenship and immigration to cross-check with those arrested," said Creighton. "The key to improving existing immigration laws is to support the existing law enforcement system and provide them with the tools needed to enforce the law in an efficient and effective manner. I look forward to bipartisan support on both my bills."
"Simply put, there should be no economic rewards, public benefits or employment privileges for anyone that is guilty of breaking our nation's immigration laws," said Mustio.
"Final enactment of my legislation and the rest of the National Security Begins at Home package will send a clear message that our Commonwealth is serious about protecting the best economic interests of legally employed workers and honest, patriotic law-abiding businesses that refuse to undermine the legitimate process of legal immigration by providing illegal employment opportunities."
"My grandparents came to this country as legal immigrants," said Perry. "They came here to improve their lives through their own hard work - not by taking advantage of a system that is designed to help people truly in need. By enacting the National Security Begins at Home package, we are confirming to the taxpayers of this Commonwealth that we are committed to protecting their tax dollars by providing benefits only to those people who are lawful citizens of the United States."
Metcalfe closed out Wednesday morning's press conference by encouraging all Pennsylvania citizens to sign the National Security Begins at Home petition which can be found online at RepMetcalfe.com, RepCreighton.com, RepMustio.com, or RepPerry.com.
"Increasingly documented incidences of homicide, identity theft, property theft, serious infectious diseases, drug running, gang violence, human trafficking, terrorism and growing cost to taxpayers are some of the most detrimental 'imports' being brought across America's unsecured borders by illegal aliens," said Metcalfe. "The National Security Begins at Home package is intended to make the Keystone State a permanent no-vacancy zone for illegal immigrants and the corresponding threats to our national sovereignty and personal safety. I encourage all Pennsylvanians who want safer communities, free of illegal immigrants to sign the National Security Begins at Home petition today."