Just days after Gov. Corbett openly wondered if the influx of immigrant children might bring disease to Pennsylvania, another institution has agreed to house some of the kids coming north from Central America.
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:
The Scranton Times-Tribune reports that an empty hotel in Hazleton may be used to house some of the thousands of unaccompanied, undocumented children who have been streaming into the United States in recent months from Latin American countries, only to end up in the custoy of the federal government while awaiting possible deportation.
The man accused of raping a 26-year-old Philadelphia woman at her Spruce Street home last month is becoming a conservative cause célébre. Because Mayor Nutter this year ended the city’s cooperation with federal immigration authorities, they say, Milton Mateo Garcia could endup going free and unpunished.
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.”
Once 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:
Nicole Kligerman is a community organizer for the New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia, a coalition of faith-based organizations that welcome and work with immigrants to the community—including undocumented immigrants. This week, it appeared the coalition was nearing a long-standing goal when the Inquirer reported Mayor Nutter will soon order an end to the city’s practice of reporting its arrests of undocumented immigrants to federal authorities, and holding those individuals for federal deportation. (Arrestees charged with severe crimes of violence would still be reported to immigration authorities.)
Kligerman talked to Philly Mag about why the old policy is harmful and the opacity of City Hall on immigration issues.