Stop the Hate: Arizona Style Anti-Immigrant Measures in Pennsylvania Must Be Killed

Rep. Daryl Metcalf held hearings over the past two days on what he styled as the "National Security Begins at Home" package of legislation. The hearings included the following bills:

HB 41, HB 355, HB 439, HB 474, HB 738, HB 798, HB 799, HB 801, HB 809, HB 810, HB 856, HB 857, HB 858, HB 865, SB 9

Without getting into each and every one of these bills, let me highlight some things these bills would do:

  • Require the flawed e-verify system to be used by all employers in the state
  • Penalize municipalities that are considered "sanctuary cities" (Reading and Philadelphia both fall into this definition). Penalties could include taking away public benefits from all residents in these cities.
  • Make it a crime to knowingly transport an undocumented immigrant. This would include a church driving an individual to services or a child driving her undocumented mother to the hospital
  • Require identification to be used to access any and all public benefits, despite the fact that an estimated 500,000 citizens in Pennsylvania lack ID (you guessed it: this group includes a disproportionate number of poor, black, and elderly)
  • Allow competitor companies and disgruntled employees to bring lawsuits! against a business for allegedly hiring undocumented immigrants. Seemingly no proof is necessary and one can win triple! damages (triple what, I'm not sure, but it sounds big!)
  • Allow police officers to request immigration paperwork of any immigrant and would create a criminal offense for note carrying those papers. How this law will be enforced without racial profiling, I don't know.
  • Deputize local police as ICE agents, able to carry out immigration functions.
  • Deny citizenship to children born in Pennsylvania to undocumented immigrants.
  • and many more fun provisions....

Vilify exploitative employers, not exploited immigrant workers. Or: Why Stu Bykofsky got it wrong. Again.

I’m a couple of weeks late with this post (vacation, work, etc...), but I’ve been thinking about it since I read Stu Bykofsky’s latest attack on immigrants in the Philadelphia Daily News. What bothered me most about this piece isn’t the long attack on undocumented workers that he posted in his previous piece on the same topic (which I also commented on). What bothers me is his seeming complete lack of logic in this article.

Philadelphia Weekly reports on violence against Asian students in schools

Via Philebrity:

This week’s Philadelphia Weekly has a crushing story about violence heaped on Asian students in many Philadelphia public schools:

Dozens of the alleged incidents are relatively minor—name-calling, verbal threats, petty robberies, random punches in the head while walking down stairwells, and general intimidation. But according to [South Philadelphia High School student Wei] Chen, at least six times last school year those minor incidents escalated into massive rumbles where outnumbered Asian students were pummeled by packs of teens, sending several of the victims to hospitals. Like the day last October when a group of around 30 kids allegedly attacked five Chinese students after school in the Snyder Avenue subway station, one block from school.

And there's this:

Where administrators or the School District intervened, improvements in student relations improved and the violence decreased—the number of overall violence in the district decreased by 17 percent last school year. But the culture of violence against Asian immigrants has existed for so long at some public schools that students almost accept that random beat downs are a part of life . . .

“They don’t even know you,” says Chen, who barely spoke English when he emigrated from China to Philadelphia in January 2007. “They just hit because you’re Asian.”

Let's think about that: At some public schools students almost accept that random beat downs are a part of life.

Philadelphia's Population Problem

View downtown from the Art Museum

Last week, the Census Bureau released its population estimates for the country’s top 25 cities. Philadelphia is still holding on to its spot as the 6th most populous city — but one has to wonder for how long. Out of the 25 largest cities, Philadelphia is one of only four cities — along with Detroit, Memphis and Baltimore — that has lost population since the 2000 census. In the past eight years, Philadelphia has lost more than 70,000 people, or roughly 4 percent of its population — a faster rate of population loss than any other American city.

one voter at a time

For the past six years, I've been a board member for the Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition (PICC). One of the reasons that I got involved with PICC was the ability to do electoral engagement with new citizens. Over the past couple of years, PICC has built a great relationship with the Department of Homeland Security locally, and has been able to register voters at citizenship ceremonies in Philadelphia. PICC is a non-partisan organization, and the fact that they aren't registering voters with a particular agenda has made it possible for them to do this important civic work.

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