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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: January 5, 2015 03:38 PM
From: Representative Doyle Heffley
To: All House members
Subject: Proof of Citizenship for Public Benefits - Heffley
In the absence of federal action to adequately secure U.S. borders and enforce federal immigration laws, states have in recent years begun to enact and implement laws that are designed to, among other things, deter illegal aliens from settling within the Commonwealth. Federal law gives the states authority to require an applicant for public benefits to provide proof of eligibility. I believe that the Commonwealth's fiscal situation requires us to ensure that public benefits are being paid only to those who are eligible.

A number of states have enacted laws to require applicants for public benefits to provide proof of identity and/or eligibility. I believe it is time for Pennsylvania to follow the lead of these other states and adopt such legislation. That is why I am reintroducing House Bill 1643 of the 2013-2014 Session. My proposal will require an individual who applies directly to an agency for public benefits to:
provide in person, by mail or by electronic means, a form of identification; and
execute an affidavit stating that he or she is a U.S. citizen or that he or she is
eligible for state or local benefits under section 411(a) of the federal Personal
Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act.

Under my proposal, an agency that administers public benefits must verify, through the Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement (SAVE) program operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security or a successor program designated by the Department, that each noncitizen applicant who has executed an affidavit is an alien legally present in the U.S.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important and timely proposal.

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Introduced as HB237