Educating a population of immigrant students, ASPIRA Schools will closely monitor news events affecting the interests of our beloved pupils. Yesterday, the Pennsylvania Senate passed Senate Bill 10, a law defunding sanctuary cities. Similar to President Donald Trump’s executive order on sanctuary cities, Senate Bill 10 strips state funding, from Harrisburg, to districts — like Philadelphia — claiming sanctuary city status. Next, the Pa General Assembly will vote on the bill. If the bill passes the House floor, Philly could lose millions of dollars of state funding for providing a safe haven to illegal immigrants .
“In the near future, I plan on introducing legislation that will address the issue of sanctuary cities in the Commonwealth,” state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler stated, a month ago. “This bill is designed to prevent municipalities and counties from designating themselves as ‘sanctuary cities’ in order to thwart federal efforts to combat illegal immigration.”In a sanctuary city, law enforcement only maintains custody of undocumented immigrants with detainer requests for violent crimes. Former Mayor Michael Nutter declared sanctuary city status for Philly, in 2014. Upon taking office, Mayor Jim Kenney continued the sanctuary city status. Currently, Philly law enforcement, already overloaded with piles of police work, allocate their time and resources to illegal immigrants posing a societal threat, as demonstrated by detainers for violent crimes. “A law enforcement agency or municipality that refuses to enforce an immigration order shall not be eligible: (I) for any state grant; or (II) to participate in the sale of state surplus property,” states Senate Bill 10. Despite Trump’s executive order condemning sanctuary cities, Pa and Philly lawmakers and administrators are openly protecting their immigrant populations. Kenney has vigilantly defended Philly’s sanctuary city status. At the Congressional level, Congressmen Robert A. Brady and Brendan F. Boyle, of the First and 13th Districts, respectfully, oppose Trump’s executive order. Pa Senator Bob Casey also opposes the executive order. Check out where other elected Pa officials stand on Trump’s immigration policies at NPR’s website. State level legislatures have stood quietly on the controversial immigration issues. Pa Representative Jason Dawkins, of the 179th District, maintains a low profile on the immigration topic. Philadelphia state Sen. Christine Tartaglione did not even vote on Senate Bill 10, according to a Billy Penn news report. Regardless of the bill’s fate, Kenney seems adamant about maintaining Philly’s sanctuary city status.