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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: December 22, 2016 03:34 PM
From: Senator Patrick J. Stefano
To: All Senate members
Subject: Proof of Citizenship for Receipt of Public Benefits Act
 
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce Senate Bill 9, legislation which would ensure that illegal immigrants residing in Pennsylvania do not receive public benefits like Medicaid, welfare and unemployment compensation.

It is estimated that the federal government, along with individual state governments, spends billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money every year to provide services and benefits to people who are residing illegally in this country. Several states have begun to address this problem by enacting tougher laws to ensure illegal immigrants are not receiving public benefits.

In 2015, Pennsylvania agreed to pay the federal government $48.8 million to settle claims that it paid non-emergency Medicaid, family assistance and food stamp benefits to immigrants who did not qualify for them. We need to ensure that Pennsylvania citizens, who are struggling to make ends meet, have their hard-earned dollars go towards benefits for those who qualify.

My legislation would require anyone requesting public benefits in the Commonwealth to provide identification proving they are a legal resident. Additionally, they will be required to sign an affidavit stating they are a U.S. citizen or an immigrant lawfully present in the United States.

It is important to note that this legislation provides compassionate exceptions to its restrictions. The bill will only apply to residents 18 and older and exempts seniors who are Medicare eligible as well as disabled Pennsylvanians who are receiving SSI or SSDI. The bill would also allow every person in Pennsylvania access to emergency medical care, necessary immunizations and disaster relief.

Illegal immigration creates unfair competition for jobs with American workers and puts a major strain on services that are intended for hard-working Pennsylvania residents. We should do all we can to ensure that our tax dollars are used to fund services for state residents, not those entering this country illegally.

Last session, this legislation passed the full Senate with a bi-partisan vote of 40-8.

Previous co-sponsors of this legislation include: SCARNATI, FOLMER, WHITE, GORDNER, ARGALL, WARD, EICHELBERGER, VOGEL, YAW, GREENLEAF, RAFFERTY, HUTCHINSON, VULAKOVICH, BROOKS, AUMENT, BARTOLOTTA, YUDICHAK, WOZNIAK AND WAGNER.

I ask you to please join me in co-sponsoring this important piece of legislation. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact Mark Fetzko (mfetzko@pasen.gov) of my office.


Introduced as SB9