Representative Daryl Metcalfe from Butler county introduced legislation, House Bill 2479, modeled after Arizona's controversial law which would give state and local law enforcement full authority to apprehend Pennsylvania's estimated 140,000 undocumented immigrants.
Metcalfe blames undocumented immigrants for mounting taxpayer costs, lost jobs and crime. “The purpose of this legislation is to offer every illegal alien residing in Pennsylvania two options, leave immediately or go to jail. Whether you came to steal Pennsylvania jobs or to leech off of our state’s fraud-ridden, ‘close your eyes and verify’ welfare system, once this law is enacted there will be absolutely no economic incentives for you to remain here,” he said.
The law also would create a new criminal offense for undocumented immigrants who violate federal law by either willfully failing to register or failing to possess proper proof of such registration when stopped for another primary offense such as a traffic violation. It would require law enforcement officers to attempt to verify anyone's immigration status. It would create a new criminal offense for anyone who is unlawfully present in the United States and is applying for work. It would allow law enforcement to impound a vehicle driven by an undocumented immigrant.
Legislators Dan Frankel and Angel Cruz issued a statement denouncing the discriminatory law. "We are opposed to importing Arizona's discriminatory 'show us your papers; law to Pennsylvania. Such a law leads inevitably to racial profiling and harassment - something neither the state, nor our law enforcement should take part in. Instead, we should focus on commonsense remedies to worker exploitation such as stronger enforcement of wage and labor laws," read the statement.
State Senate Bill 1070, introduced this week by Sen. Daylin Leach, would prevent Pennsylvania from enacting a law similar to Arizona's.