High-Profile Immigration Bill Reaches House Floor

Designed to keep public dollars out of the hands of illegal immigrants, SB 9 would require proof of citizenship before individuals can receive state welfare benefits.  Democrats on the House State Government Committee complained that it was drafted on anecdotes, not facts. 

Rep. Greg Vitali (D-Delaware) questioned Chairman Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler) on whether there are any cost studies to justify the bill.  “My answer is we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on illegal aliens in Pennsylvania, and we should stop spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on illegal aliens,” Metcalfe shot back.  Metcalfe estimates there are 140,000 illegal immigrants currently living in the Keystone State. 

Committee debate got even more heated, Tuesday, when several Democratic members described the bill as “xenophobic.”  Metcalfe cut-off Democratic Chair Babette Josephs mid-sentence: “Representative Josephs, you’re out of order in using that term,” he chided. 

The committee amended and advanced SB 9 via a party line vote, with all Republicans voting for it.  The so-called ‘Proof of Citizenship for Receipt of Public Benefits Act’ passed the Senate (40 – 9) earlier this year, with some Democratic support.  It’s now poised for state House action.