Interview: Adam Solow on the Immigration Crisis

Adam Solow, by Dan Doran Photgraphy.

Adam Solow, by Dan Doran Photgraphy.

The debate over illegal immigration has taken a new turn in recent months, as thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have appeared at the U.S. border — presenting officials here with challenges on how and whether to deport them, and how to humanely hold and track them while awaiting processing.

The crisis has reached into Pennsylvania. Some children have family in the state and are sent here while waiting process. And the federal government, after all, operates only one immigrant family detention center, in Berks County — but it can only house 96 people at most, and only for weeks or months at a time. There’s also been talk of opening a new center in Hazelton, Pa. The whole situation is increasingly becoming a political hot potato in Washington D.C.

Adam Solow is a Philadelphia immigration attorney who has seen the crisis begin to manifest itself in his practice. He spoke to Philly Mag recently about the situation. Some excerpts:

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Immigrants Seek PA Driver’s Licenses

The Patriot-News reports: “With discussions of comprehensive immigration reform stalled, if not dead, in Congress, a group of undocumented immigrants rallied at the state Capitol on Wednesday to ask support for House Bill 1648, which would allow them to receive licenses. Under the proposal, residents who do not have a social security number could receive a license by providing Tax ID number, a valid passport from their native country or other documents like a birth certificate that would verify their identity.”

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Daryl Metcalfe’s “English-Only” Bill Hurts Philly

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 8.28.59 PMOnce again, Daryl Metcalfe is screwing with Philadelphia.

That may not be an obvious implication of the Butler Republican’s decision this week to introduce an “English-only” bill in the Pennsylvania House. Its ostensible purpose — aside from tossing a holy hand grenade in the culture wars — is to save state residents the crushing, burdensome expense of printing the occasional government form in Spanish.

“Pennsylvania taxpayers simply cannot afford, and should not continue to be required, to foot the bill for government translating and printing infinite amounts of forms, documents and publications in many languages other than English,” Metcalfe harumphed in the press release announcing the bill.

(Infinite means “endless,” of course, and it seems like Metcalfe might be exaggerating a bit: Here’s a list of all the documents related to driving and getting a driver’s license in Pennsylvania; of roughly 100 forms, brochures, and pamphlets on the topic, roughly six have non-English titles. Scary.)

But yeah, Metcalfe’s bill is a particular burden on Philadelphia. Some reasons:

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