Senate Bill determines the fate of PA sanctuary cities

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Sanctuary cities was the subject of a meeting at the State Capitol. Senate Bill 10 is a bill that would prevent municipalities and counties from declaring themselves as sanctuary cities.

Supporters of the bill say it is meant to help Immigration and Customs Enforcement do their job.

"I think most of the senators understood the importance of this bill because it's really to protect Pennsylvania families and strengthen local law enforcement,” said Republican Senator Reschenthaler, from the 37th district, who sponsored the legislature.

If the bill passes through the Senate, cities that are deemed sanctuary cities will lose grant funding from the state.

Reschenthaler says municipalities and counties across PA have violated immigration detainers in the past.

"Local law enforcement, blatantly and in disregard of ICE directives or out of negligence, turns these individuals loose and they commit additional crimes of murder, sexual assault, you name it,” added Reschenthaler.

A detainer alerts ICE to investigate a person's immigration status - ICE has 48 hours to investigate and make a decision.

Democratic Senator, Vincent Hughes, opposes the bill. He serves the 7th district and opposes the legislation.

He believes the bill violates immigrants’ rights.

“We just need to be very careful about having folks coming around our communities, just snatching folks up when there has not been a fully adjudicated process in place by a third party, if you, that will determine if that is appropriate,” said Senator Hughes.

Senator Hughes says local jurisdiction needs to be respected and supported.

"This does not mean there doesn't need to be any cooperation, especially in terms of finding the bad guys,” added Hughes.

The senate committee approved the bill 8-4. Now, it will go through the entire Senate sometime in the next two weeks for consideration.