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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: May 3, 2021 05:05 PM
From: Representative Sara Innamorato and Rep. Joseph C. Hohenstein
To: All House members
Subject: Office of New Pennsylvanians
Immigrants move to the U.S. for the promise of freedom and opportunity. Their contributions to our culture, community, and economy benefit everyone. In 2018, immigrants comprised 9 percent of Pennsylvania’s workforce and paid $3.3 billion in state and local taxes. Unfortunately, these individuals are used as scapegoats for our widening inequality and growing unemployment. This sentiment leads to the creation of restrictive policies at the expense of losing skilled workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and community leaders. Living in communities where we treat each other like neighbors, no matter what we look like or where we come from, in the pursuit of more fulfilling lives is the only way to a prosperous society.
To uphold our standard of ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,’ we will introduce legislation that respects and embraces people who moved here to fulfill the promise of the American Dream. Our legislation will create the “Office of New Pennsylvanians” with the task of attracting, retaining, and embracing immigrants in our Commonwealth. The Office’s duties will include:
  • Responding to inquiries from state agencies, the media, immigrant organizations, and the public about immigration issues in Pennsylvania.
  • Serving as point of contact for state licensing boards and the Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs.
  • Serving as a clearinghouse of information for state agencies on immigration-related policy issues, and coordinate among agencies as appropriate.
  • Developing strategies to attract, retain, and incorporate immigrants into Pennsylvania.
  • Assembling stakeholders in business development and international trade promotion programs to increase their capacity to draw on immigrant contributors.
  • Convening municipal officials to boost peer learning on immigration possibilities among third-class cities struggling with population loss and economic decline.
  • Convening colleges and universities to foster learning about strategies for immigrant and international student retention.
With recent Census data showing Pennsylvania’s lagging population growth, it is more important than ever to enact welcoming policies. Please join us in supporting this legislation.

Introduced as HB2173