A bill sponsored by Senator Pat Stefano (R-32) that would deny public benefits, such as Medicaid, welfare, and unemployment compensation to illegal immigrants living in Pennsylvania has passed the House State Government Committee.
Stefano’s legislation Senate Bill 9, would require anyone receiving public benefits in the Commonwealth to provide identification proving they are legal residents. In addition, individuals would be required to sign an affidavit stating they are a United States citizen, or an immigrant lawfully residing in this country. Any illegal immigrant who falsely claims they are residing in the country legally, in order to obtain public benefits, will have committed a second degree misdemeanor and be subject to arrest.
“Pennsylvania citizens, including legal immigrants, who are struggling to make ends meet, should not have their hard-earned dollars go toward benefits for illegal immigrants,” Stefano said. “Illegal immigration creates unfair competition for jobs with American workers and puts a major strain on services that are intended for hard-working Pennsylvania citizens,” Stefano said. “We should do all we can to ensure that our tax dollars are used to fund services for state citizens, not those entering this country illegally.”
Federal law prohibits illegal immigrants from receiving state or local public benefits. However, Stefano said Pennsylvania is simply too lenient in enforcing the federal provisions.
Stefano noted that the legislation would provide compassionate exceptions to its tough restrictions. Senate Bill 9 would only apply to residents 18 and older and would exempt seniors who are Medicare eligible as well as disabled Pennsylvanians who are receiving SSI or SSDI. The bill would also allow every person in Pennsylvania access to emergency medical care, necessary immunizations and disaster relief.
Senate Bill 9 now goes to the full House of Representatives for consideration.
CONTACT: Ben Wren (717) 787-7175