|CASA and CASA in Action will hold a rally Monday in Harrisburg to protest a radically anti-immigrant bill that would encourage local police and other government agencies to assist the federal government in demanding legal proof of citizenship, deporting undocumented immigrants and would impose financial and legal sanctions on jurisdictions that don’t go along with the proposed law.
“This bill would give a green light to local police officers to stop anyone who looks ‘Latino’ and ask them for their immigration papers,” said CASA in Action board member Leobigilda Castro, a York resident. “That is not right. It’s racial profiling and you cannot discriminate that way in this country.”
HB 1885 passed the Republican-controlled House Tuesday. The bill is similar to legislation passed in Arizona in 2010, which was in large part struck down by the Supreme Court and resulted in an estimated $141 million in losses from conference cancellations. After the law was challenged in court, the state had to pay $1.4 million to reimburse plaintiffs’ fees.
Another similar 2006 law in Colorado, which required local law enforcement to notify federal immigration officials during arrests when they suspected someone was in the country illegally, was wiped off the books six years after its adoption because it was costing local agencies in the state more than $13 million annually to enforce the law.
“Besides the discriminatory aspect of this proposal, these are costs that the state and municipalities just cannot afford,” said CASA’s Executive Director Gustavo Torres.
The bill now making its way to the state Senate, is sponsored by Rep. Martina White (R‑Philadelphia.) She introduced the bill, after Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney decided to re-establish his city as a sanctuary city, a term given to municipalities which opt to limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities in order to improve the relationship between undocumented immigrants and local police agencies in their communities. The proposed state bill threatens to cut state funding to municipalities labeled as sanctuary cities.
“We will stand up and fight this to the bitter end,” Castro said.
CASA is a Latino and immigrant-rights organization and a national leader in building power and improving the quality of life in low-income Latino and immigrant communities.