Pennsylvania immigration proposal runs into barrier

| Thursday, July 29, 2010

HARRISBURG — Despite polls showing strong support among Pennsylvania voters, legislation patterned after Arizona's get-tough immigration law isn't expected to see the light of day in the Legislature anytime soon.

"I give every bill the attention it deserves," said Rep. Babette Josephs, a Philadelphia Democrat who chairs the committee that would oversee the bill. "I believe this bill deserves no attention whatsoever."

Portions of the law took effect today after a federal judge temporarily blocked the more controversial provisions pending further hearings.

Supporters say the law is necessary because the federal government fails to stop the overflow of immigrants at the borders.

Opponents claim the law will drain law enforcement resources and place the Hispanic community, including U.S. citizens, in a state of fear.

A recent Quinnipiac poll revealed 72 percent of those polled in Pennsylvania prefer law enforcement to deal the problem rather than integrating illegals into society. The same poll revealed 47 percent would like to see an Arizona-type law in Pennsylvania. An additional 34 percent said they would not want such a law. The remaining 20 percent had no opinion.

Sen. Frank Antenori, a Tucson Republican who grew up in the Poconos, said it was time for Arizona to take action.

"The federal government under the Constitution is supposed to provide for the common defense and protect the states from invasion. They aren't doing it, and the states have been left with that burden. The majority of Americans are really upset about it," said Antenori, a sponsor of the law.

Joe Hoesch, 67, of Baldwin calls the Arizona law "for me, a hot button issue."

"We have been economically invaded by foreigners and the Democratic leadership in Washington and Harrisburg consider it advantageous to do nothing," Hoesch said. "They refuse to protect our country by enforcing the existing law and allow the taxpayers to be raped. In Arizona, the drug wars have spilled across our border, and they (feds) do nothing. Terrorists are crossing our southern border and, yet, they do nothing."

The way Carlos Turcios, an international sales manager for Hormann Flexon LLC in Leetsdale, sees it: "It's similar to (stopping) every Muslim because you think they have a bomb.

"I drive every day from work," Turcios said. "If the police stop me because I appear to be Latin American, I will feel discriminated upon because I work and pay taxes."

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