Republicans bills in PA look to tackle border crisis on state level with harsher penalties for those who assault police, address ghost flights, more

17 April 2024- Pennsylvania House Republicans Wednesday held a press conference to highlight legislation members have introduced to combat illegal immigration in Pennsylvania in the wake of the Biden administration’s continued failure to secure the southern border.

“Every time you create a sanctuary city or county, you are literally moving the national border to your own neighborhood. And when the government picks and chooses which laws are important, they invite the people that live under their watch to do the same. This must stop,” said Pennsylvania House Republican Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster).

“Thankfully, we have a strong group of House Republicans who have introduced legislation to combat illegal immigration in Pennsylvania. From outlawing sanctuary cities and counties to being stronger against the kind of crime and violence we have seen in other cities stemming from illegal immigration, Pennsylvania’s House Republicans are here to take action where the federal government – the Biden administration in particular – has failed.”

Rep. Martina White (R-Philadelphia) has introduced legislation to require $1 million minimum bail for assaulting a law enforcement officer, which was proposed in response to the attack on New York Police Department officers by a gang of illegal immigrants earlier this year. She noted the importance of stopping illegal immigration to curb the ongoing epidemic of crime and violence.

“My legislation to set a minimum $1 million bail for assaulting a police officer sends a clear message: Pennsylvania stands firmly against violence toward those who protect and serve our communities,” White said. “We are committed to making sure those who would harm our officers, including illegal immigrants, will face serious consequences for their actions.”

Rep. Mike Cabell (R-Luzerne) has introduced a resolution to urge Congress and the federal government to address ghost flights, which are untracked, unmonitored flights carrying undocumented immigrants into the United States. He discussed the importance of federal and local cooperation to stop illegal immigration.

“I believe it is prudent that federal officials collaborate with state and local authorities, as well as non-governmental organizations, to ensure immigration policy is implemented in a safe, humane manner,” Cabell stated. “If ghost flights continue, it not only risks the safety of our communities, but also the safety of the immigrants involved. We need to urge our federal partners to reconsider this policy that, if unchecked, will create new humanitarian crises in Pennsylvania.”

Rep. Donna Scheuren (R-Montgomery) discussed her forthcoming legislation to crack down on squatters and requiring local cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement should a squatter be in the country illegally.

“For too long in Pennsylvania, we have protected criminal squatters over the rights of property owners,” said Scheuren. “My Homeowner Protection and Squatter Eviction Act would provide property owners with the protections they deserve, and properly punish squatters who invade homes and cause damage to the properties they invade.”

Rep. Ryan Warner (R-Fayette) detailed the importance of his legislation, which would use the state’s preemption authority to ban sanctuary municipalities in Pennsylvania.

“Communities that grant sanctuary status to illegal immigrants are failing in their most basic responsibility to uphold the law and protect the safety of their residents,” Warner said. “My legislation has already led to at least two Pennsylvania counties reversing their sanctuary status. I encourage others to follow suit, and I urge majority House Democrats to live up to their responsibility on this issue by moving these bills.”