Daryl Metcalfe thinks Arizona is onto something.
On Tuesday, Metcalfe (R-Butler) unveiled an immigration bill modeled after the one in the Grand Canyon State, citing "mounting taxpayer costs combined with the $1 billion Rendell budget deficit, lost jobs and ever-increasing crime resulting from Pennsylvania’s illegal alien invasion."
While it is unlikely that Shakira or even Ricky Martin will make their way here to decry this bill, as they they did with the one in Arizona, local organizers already plan to rally against it and to push for comprehensive immigration reform at 10 a.m. today outside Sen. Bob Casey's office, 2000 Market St.
Just as in Arizona, Metcalfe's initiative "would provide state and local law enforcement with full authority to apprehend Pennsylvania’s estimated 140,000 illegal aliens and several other sweeping reform measures," his website reads.
What this new proposal tells us is that we need national, comprehensive immigration reform soon, according to Reagan Cooper, executive director of the Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition.
"We're spending millions of dollars in different things that don't solve the problem while what we need to overhaul the system itself," she said.
"With a law like this we're just going to see an increase in the racial profiling immigrant communities are a target of," Cooper said.
Metcalfe's efforts are being countered. State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Delaware-Montgomery), who is proposing to separate the state from the federal government when it comes to enforcing immigration laws.
His bill proposes that no Pennsylvania state or local law-enforcement agency has any power or obligation to enforce or investigate an individual's compliance with federal immigration law.
But this proposal would not prevent local authorities from sharing with the INS any relevant immigration information they obtain collateral to an arrest or investigation they do with regard to nonimmigration matters, a concern for local immigrants-rights groups.
"This sharing of information has a great impact in the immigrant communities," Cooper said. "It creates fear of interacting with police, it increases the racial profiling and rolls back the advances of the civil rights movement."