PA Legislators follow Trump with Anti-Immigrant and Racist Legislation

(Espanol abajo)

On March 23, 2016, a group of PA State Representatives, including Representative Martina White of N.E. Philadelphia, Representative Daryl Metcalfe of Butler, Dom Costa of Allegheny, Doyle Heffley of Carbon, and Jerry Knowles of Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill have introduced a package of anti-immigrant bills to address what they call the “alien invasion” of Pennsylvania. Following Donald Trump’s playbook, they are stoking the fires of racism and xenophobia to help their re-election campaigns. The proposals include a bill that would attack Sanctuary cities, require state employers to enroll in the costly and problematic E-Verify program, and prevent undocumented immigrants from getting benefits, which they are not eligible for anyway.

Immigrants and local organizations respond:

New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia leader Estela Hernandez, who risked arrest this last December to keep Philadelphia a Sanctuary city, responded to the package of bills:  “These bills are racist and discriminate against immigrants.  They should spend more time working to create jobs, alleviate poverty and provide opportunities for all people; not fomenting racism and increasing the persecution of immigrants in PA.”

Andy Hoover, Legislative Director of the ACLU of PA:  “These bills are bad public policy: they are costly to the state, costly to businesses, and will harm ordinary Pennsylvania families – citizens and immigrants alike. The bills are based on misinformation – in fact, undocumented immigrants do not qualify for welfare or food stamps and there is no evidence that they are improperly accessing these benefits. The sanctuary city bill levies fiscal punishment against municipalities to force them to illegally detain people. And E-Verify is the infrastructure for a national ID card.”

Sundrop Carter, Executive Director of Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition: “We are deeply disappointed to see Pennsylvania legislators succumbing to the hate-filled anti immigrant sentiments dominating today’s airwaves. These policies do nothing to address any of the challenges facing our state. They do not address our current budget crises, they do not create any jobs, and will not help a single resident of Pennsylvania. All they do is demonize and stigmatize immigrant and refugee communities.”

Reverend Aldo Siahaan, pastor of the Philadelphia Praise Center and member of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia:  “As a Christian, Holy Week reminds us that we must bring love, not hate; that we are called to work for the redemption of people, not to condemn them.  This needs to be the model for our state legislators.”


Legisladores de Pennsylvania siguen a Trump con propuestas racistas contra los inmigrantes


Hoy, un grupo de representantes estatales de Pennsylvania, incluyendo los Representantes Martina White de Philadelphia, Daryl Metcalfe de Butler, Dom Costa de Allegheny, Doyle Heffley de Carbon, y Jerry Knowles de Berks/Carbon/Schuylkill, han introducido varias propuestas de ley contra los inmigrantes a causa de lo que ellos llaman una “invasion de extranjeros” en Pennsylvania. Como Donald Trump, esto crea mas racismo y xenofobia, solamente para ganar elecciones. Las propuestas incluyen un proyecto de ley atacando las “ciudades santuarios,” requiriendo empleadores estatales para usar el programa muy problematico “e-verify,” y bloqueando los inmigrantes indocumentados de recibir beneficios publicos, aunque ya no son eligibles a causa de su estatus migratorio.

Inmigrantes y organizaciones locales responden a estos ataques:

Lider de Nuevo Movimiento Santuario de Philadelphia Estela Hernandez, quien participo en la desobediencia civil el diciembre pasado para asegurar que Philadelphia se quedara una “ciudad santuario,” respondio a los ataques legislativos: “Estas propuestas son racistas y discriminan a los inmigrantes. Los politicos deben pasar mas tiempo trabajando para crear trabajos, aliviar la pobreza, y proveer oportunidades para todos, no creando mas racismo y aumentando la persecucion de inmigrantes en Pennsylvania.”   

Andy Hoover, el Director Legislativo del ACLU de PA: “Estas propuestas son mala politica publica; cuestan demasiado al estado, negocios, y hacen dano a familas en Pennsylvania – ambos ciudadanos e inmigrantes. Las propuestas son basadas en mala informacion- de hecho, los inmigrantes indocumentados ya no califican o cupones de alimentos, y no hay evidencia que estan accesando estos beneficios. La propuesta contra las ciudades santuarios castigan las ciudades para forzarles a detener las personas ilegalmente. Y e-verify es la infrastructura para una identificacion nacional.”

Sundrop Carter, la Directora Ejectuvia de la Coalicion de Pennsylvania de Inmigracion y Ciudadania: “Estamos muy decepcionados porque los legisladores de Pennsylvania caen en sentimientos llenos de odio contra los inmigrantes y estos sentimientos ya dominan los medios de comunicacion. Estas propuestas no hacen nada para aliviar los problemas en nuestro estado. No ayudan la crisis del presupuesto estatal, no crean mas trabajos, y no ayudan a ninguna persona que vive en Pennsylvania. La unica cosa que hacen es estigmatizar las comunidades inmigrantes y refugiados.”

El Reverendo Aldo Siahaan, pastor del Centro de Elogias de Philadelphia y miembro de Nuevo Movimiento Santuario de Philadelphia: “Como un Cristiano, la Semana Santa nos recuerda que todos tenemos que llevar el amor, no el odio; que estamos llamados para trabajar por la redencion del pueblo, no condenarlos. Esto necesita ser el modelo por nuestros politicos estatales.”

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