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HARRISBURG — Philadelphia is home to more than 200,000 people who weren’t born U.S. citizens.
About half of those people have gone through the naturalization process, according to census info, while the other half have not. A quarter of Philly’s immigrants — around 50,000 people — are believed to be undocumented.
Local leaders like Mayor Jim Kenney have loudly and proudly declared Philadelphia to be a “welcoming city” to immigrants, which in practice means police don’t ask about immigration status and the prison system doesn’t honor detainers (or hold requests) from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The city, however, will hold someone for ICE if there’s a criminal warrant issued by a judge.
Philadelphia scored a victory against the Trump administration recently when a judge ruled the feds can’t withhold money for law enforcement because of the city’s immigration policies. Kenney was so happy he danced.
But there are still efforts in Harrisburg to punish municipalities like Philadelphia for these policies — efforts that are sometimes led and supported by the city’s own representatives.
Perhaps the most prominent local opponent is Northeast state Rep. Martina White, who is again leading the charge on a bill to force municipalities like Philadelphia to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
House Bill 28 states:
The governing body of a municipality may not adopt an ordinance, regulation or plan or take any other action that limits or prohibits a public official, employee or law enforcement officer of the municipality from communicating or cooperating with an appropriate public official, employee or law enforcement officer of the Federal government concerning the immigration status of an individual in this Commonwealth.
The Republican’s bill would also make these municipalities liable for damages caused by undocumented people who are released by local police — despite an ICE detainer request — then convicted of a crime.
“We expect a vote on HB 28 soon,” a White staffer said by email this week, “but with the upcoming budget debate we have no set date.”
White introduced similar legislation during the 2015-16 session that got votes in both chambers, but did not make it to the governor’s desk before the session ended.
Of the Philly state senators in office at the time of the vote, only Democrat John Sabatina Jr. voted in favor of the legislation. In a press release explaining his stance on another immigration bill, Sabatina Jr. said he does “not believe that the ‘sanctuary city’ designation keeps citizens safe.”
In the House, he was joined in his Yea vote by Philly’s Republicans as well as Democrats Ed Neilson and Michael Driscoll, who both ran unopposed in the most recent primary.
To get a broad sense of where Philadelphia’s legislators in Harrisburg stand on immigration, Billy Penn looked at their votes and sponsorships on a handful of related legislation.
This map shows the representative voted on White’s House Bill 1885, which would punish “sanctuary municipalities” when undocumented persons are convicted of certain crimes and compel these areas to cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Pretty stark divide. Check the details by clicking on the different districts, or in the chart below, which also includes whether the representative co-sponsored:
- HB 28, which is essentially a reintroduction of HB 1885.
- State Rep. Chris Rabb’s HB 1604, which would limit local law enforcement cooperation with immigration enforcement agencies.
- State Rep. Angel Cruz’s House Resolution 491, which decried the Trump administration’s decision to end DACA.
|Representative||District||Party||Vote to punish sanctuary municipalities||Co-sponsor bill to punish sanctuary municipalities?||Co-sponsor bill limiting local cooperation with ICE?||
Supported resolution condemning Trump’s end of DACA?
|Thomas Murt||District 152||Republican||Yea|
|Martina White||District 170||Republican||Yea||Introduced|
|Kevin J. Boyle||District 172||Democrat||No vote recorded|
|Michael Driscoll||District 173||Democrat||Yea|
|Ed Neilson||District 174||Democrat||Yea|
|Michael O’Brien||District 175||Democrat||Nay|
|John Taylor||District 177||Republican||Yea||Yes|
|Jason Dawkins||District 179||Democrat||Nay|
|Angel Cruz||District 180||Democrat||Nay||Yes||Introduced|
|W. Curtis Thomas||District 181||Democrat||Nay||Yes|
|Brian Sims||District 182||Democrat||Nay|
|William Keller||District 184||Democrat||Nay|
|Maria Donatucci||District 185||Democrat||Nay||Yes||Yes|
|Jordan Harris||District 186||Democrat||Nay||Yes|
|James R. Roebuck Jr.||District 188||Democrat||Nay||Yes||Yes|
|Vanessa Lowery Brown||District 190||Democrat||Nay||Yes||Yes|
|Joanna McClinton||District 191||Democrat||Nay||Yes|
|Morgan Cephas||District 192||Democrat||Not in office|
|Pamela DeLissio||District 194||Democrat||Nay|
|Donna Bullock||District 195||Democrat||Nay|
|Emilio A. Vazquez||District 197||Democrat||Not in office||Yes||Yes|
|Rosita Youngblood||District 198||Democrat||Nay||Yes||Yes|
|Chris Rabb||District 200||Democrat||Not in office||Introduced|
|Stephen Kinsey||District 201||Democrat||Nay||Yes|
|Jared Solomon||District 202||Democrat||Not in office||Yes|
|Isabella Fitzgerald||District 203||Democrat||Not in office||Yes|
Here’s the map for the state senate, showing how senators voted on White’s bill to punish “sanctuary municipalities.”
Details below, along with notes on:
- How the senator voted on state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler’s SB 10, which would prevent municipalities from adopting sanctuary policies regarding immigrants.
- If the senator co-sponsored state Sen. John C. Rafferty Jr.’s SB 273, which would withhold state funding from so-called sanctuary campuses.
|Senator||District||Party||Vote on bill to punish sanctuary municipalities||Vote on bill to prevent sanctuary city designations||
Co-sponsor bill to withhold funding from sanctuary campuses?
|Lawrence M. Farnese Jr.||District 1||Democrat||Nay||Nay||No|
|Christine M. Tartaglione||District 2||Democrat||No vote recorded||No vote recorded||No|
|Sharif Street||District 3||Democrat||Not in office||Nay||No|
|Art Haywood||District 4||Democrat||Nay||Nay||No|
|John P. Sabatina Jr.||District 5||Democrat||Yea||Nay||No|
|Vincent J. Hughes||District 7||Democrat||Nay||Nay||No|
|Anthony H. Williams||District 8||Democrat||Nay||Nay||No|