New bill could outlaw Pennsylvania sanctuary cities

The latest state in the United States hoping to put an end to the so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ is Pennsylvania, according to Lancaster Online. Police officers in such cities openly defy requests from federal immigration authorities to detain undocumented immigrants, or those under suspicion of being undocumented immigrants, and turn them over to immigration.

The legislation was taken up by the Pennsylvania Legislature this week, a month after its introduction by Republican senator Richard Alloway. Detainers are regularly issued by the Department of Homeland Security to inform law enforcement agencies that they want to take undocumented immigrants into custody, and local law enforcement is expected to comply; however, this tends not to happen in sanctuary cities and intense political debate has erupted since Kathryn Steinle was shot dead in San Francisco by one such immigrant.

State and national lawmakers have since been trying to criminalize these cities, or at least discourage them from continuing the practice, although Democrats blocked a federal attempt to prevent such cities receiving law enforcement grants in the Senate.

The new Pennsylvania bill would, if passed into law, prevent municipalities that refuse to abide by federal immigration laws taking part in selling state surplus property and would also prevent them being awarded state grants. Pennsylvania is following the example states such as Texas, which has seen a heated debate between the Dallas county sheriff and the governor on the issue, and North Carolina, which was the first US state to individually address the problem.