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  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Mayor Nutter(D) declares they are a sanctuary city 7/1/10)

    Philly Becomes Sanctuary City
    By Fox Nation, June 28, 2010

    Philadelphia is expected to end the arrangement that permits federal immigration agents to scrutinize the city’s computerized list of arrests, including country of origin and other data, Everett Gillison, the deputy mayor for public safety, said Sunday.

    Immigrant advocates say the year-old agreement between the city and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement service, known as ICE, has resulted in deportation proceedings against immigrants arrested on even minor charges. Under the agreement, ICE agents can routinely access the city's Preliminary Arraignment Reporting System (PARS). That agreement is up for renewal on Thursday.

    "It is the mayor's view that the PARS agreement should not be extended,” Gillison said, speaking at a South Philadelphia church meeting attended by more than 300 immigrants and their supporters.

    He said there would be a formal announcement of the city’s position in the coming week, probably on Friday.

    Mayor Nutter has expressed concern about the human rights of all immigrants, regardless of their legal status
    Lawmakers propose bills targeting illegal immigrants
    By Christopher Wink for the TRIBUNE-REVIEW, Wednesday, June 11, 2008

    HARRISBURG -- As the Pennsylvania General Assembly plunges into its annual budget negotiations, state Rep. Daryl D. Metcalfe is focusing on what is becoming his signature concern: immigration reform.

    "The illegal alien issue in Pennsylvania is costing taxpayers millions of dollars," the Butler County Republican said. "So I think the budget season is the perfect time to announce this legislation."
    Pa. House race mirrors maze of immigration issue
    By Kathy Kiely, USA TODAY, 4/24/08

    HAZLETON, Pa. — In a year when veteran House Republicans are rushing for the exits rather than attempt re-election, Lou Barletta represents something of rarity: He's a Republican challenger who has a 24-year Democratic congressman worried. Key to the turf battle: the touchstone issue of illegal immigration.

    Barletta, mayor of this northeastern Pennsylvania city, made headlines last year with efforts to drive out illegal immigrants, part of a wave of newcomers who headed to the Poconos after the 9/11 attacks in New York City.

    Barletta, 52, spearheaded an ordinance allowing the city to fine landlords who rent to illegal immigrants and yank the business licenses of employers who hire them. He lost a federal court case (now on appeal) but won nationwide publicity and 90% of the vote in his re-election last November
    US town in immigration spotlight
    By Emilio San Pedro for the BBC, 4/18/08

    In July, 2006, the little known town of Hazleton in Pennsylvania became a key focal point in the national debate over immigration reform.

    The council approved a controversial ordinance that granted the city's authorities extraordinary powers in dealing with undocumented immigrants and those who offered them employment.

    The man behind the measure was the town's mayor, Lou Barletta, who has since become a leading figure of anti-immigrant campaigners in the US.

    The law sought to punish businesses that hired undocumented workers and the landlords who rented out properties to them.

    About a third of the former coal mining town's 30,000-strong population are Latino.

    The law has since been blocked by a federal court, which declared it unconstitutional.

    However, Mr Barletta, a Republican who was elected as mayor of Hazleton in 2000 and is now standing for the US Congress, remains proud of the measure.
    Religious immigration group targets Barletta
    By L.A. TARONE for the Standard-Speaker, 4/12/08

    A religious group with a focus on immigration has singled out Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta for what it termed “demonizing immigrants.”

    Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform criticized what it calls his “rhetoric.” On Monday, the group will hold a conference call to “call on Hazelton (sic) Mayor Louis Barletta, state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe (R-Butler County) and other elected officials to embody the teachings of Christ and promote a message of love and respect towards immigrants, instead of fear and exclusion.”

    Metcalfe is the main driver behind a five-bill package in the state House that seeks to address illegal immigration in Pennsylvania. The release denounced his report “Invasion PA,” in which he describes what he saw as illegal immigration’s effects on Pennsylvania, and his new caucus called “The State Legislators for Legal Immigration.” The Rev. Jane Hess of Faith United Church of Christ, near Hollywood, will be among the participants in Monday’s conference call.
    Candidates discuss illegal immigration
    By CHRIS KELLY for the Evening Sun, 4/9/08

    A candidates night Tuesday sponsored by the Adams County Farm Bureau gave 10 office-seekers a chance to talk about agriculture, and several took the opportunity to weigh in on immigration.

    Republican Jim Taylor, a candidate for state Senate in the 33rd District, said he worked for the Border Patrol in Arizona and saw illegal immigration as an "organized invasion."

    "The average person is getting 'whacked,'" Taylor said.

    One of his Republican opponents, Cathy Cresswell, cautioned that illegal immigration is a federal as well as state issue and efforts to limit the number of immigrants can end up doing more harm than good.

    Skip Strayer, representing Republican Rich Alloway, said farmers are caught in the middle.

    The people show up, want to work, and have "documents" proving their legality, he said.

    "I've heard the, 'The farmers want cheap labor,' line before," he added. But, he said, the average farmer is employing immigrants for $16 an hour.

    Bob Curley, who had entered the race as a Republican but recently changed his party affiliation to Democrat, said that after World War II, the need for workers and temporary labor went up, causing immigration to increase. But, he said, it's not OK to illegally immigrate, even for a short period
    Immigration issues endangering agriculture's future
    By STEVE MARRONI for the Evening Sun Reporter, 3/30/08

    Kay Hollabaugh's jaw dropped when she learned this week that the state's largest tomato grower would not plant a crop this year because there might be too few workers to harvest it.

    It begs the question, she said, if the day will ever come when Adams County's fruit growers face a similar decision.

    And while Hollabaugh Bros. Fruit Farm and Market outside of Biglerville has not had to take such a drastic step, Kay Hollabaugh said she's noticed fewer and fewer migrant workers, most of whom are Mexican, coming back to the orchard each year.
    Tomato grower cuts crop over immigration mess - Pa.’s largest producer says lack of federal reform to blame for too few workers.
    By MICHAEL RUBINKAM for the AP, 3/25/08

    CLARKS SUMMIT — Saying the nation’s immigration system is broken, Pennsylvania’s largest grower of fresh-to-market tomatoes announced Monday he will no longer produce the crop because he can’t find enough workers to harvest it.

    Keith Eckel, 61, a fourth-generation farmer and the owner of Fred W. Eckel Sons Farms, said he saw a dramatic decline last summer in the number of migrant workers who showed up to pick tomatoes at his 2,000-acre farm in northeastern Pennsylvania.

    He said Congress’ failure to approve comprehensive immigration reform had hindered his ability to hire enough workers to get his crop to the market. Most of Eckel’s workers came from Mexico.

    “There are a number of workers hesitant to travel, legal or illegal, because of the scrutiny they are now under,” said Eckel, whose tomatoes have been shipped to supermarkets and restaurants throughout the eastern United States. “So there are less workers crossing state lines.”

    Eckel, who planted 2.2 million tomato plants last year, said he also will stop growing pumpkins and plant half as much sweet corn as usual, resulting in a loss of nearly 175 jobs.

    Eckel, one of the largest growers of fresh-market tomatoes in the Northeast, said it cost him $1.5 million to $2 million to plant and harvest a tomato crop – too much of an investment to risk not having enough workers at harvest time.
    Immigration on front burner But this time, a talk and forum features attorney who KO’d Hazleton ordinance
    By CHIP SMEDLEY for the Lancaster Online, 3/16/08

    Witold "Vic" Walczak knows how it feels to be both a scapegoat and a stranger.

    The son of a Polish Holocaust survivor, he emigrated to the United States when he was 3. He eventually graduated from Colgate University and Boston College Law School. He joined the American Civil Liberties Union in 1992 and became legal director for the ACLU of Pennsylvania in 2004.

    But in December 2007, he went back to his roots to challenge a Hazleton ordinance penalizing businesses that hired illegal immigrants and landlords who rented to them.

    With Walczak as co-lead counsel, the ACLU convinced the U.S. District Court to declare the ordinance unconstitutional.
    Feds target illegal aliens from China
    By Torsten Ove for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/23/08

    Federal prosecutors this week filed civil forfeiture papers against several McKees Rocks companies owned by an illegal alien from China who is charged with employing other illegals to work in his warehouse and deliver food to Chinese restaurants throughout the region.

    The U.S. attorney's office moved to forfeit nearly $400,000, a Mercedes-Benz, computers and other property seized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in raids last fall at New Chinatown Trading on Island Avenue.

    The company is owned by Bao Ping Zheng, 39, of Ohio Township, a Chinese national who was charged last month in federal court with knowingly hiring other illegals from a New York agency to work in his warehouse and for a related company, NBC Trucking.

    A third firm, New Chinatown Realty, is housed in the same building at 1300 Island Ave.

    Agents said Mr. Zheng admitted that he hired illegals and paid them cash without reporting their income.
    Specter visits undocumented immigrants in jail
    By Torsten Ove for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/20/08

    U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter visited with inmates at the Allegheny County Jail yesterday as part of a statewide tour to explore what happens to undocumented immigrants after they've served a sentence on criminal charges.

    "There are 12 [million] to 20 million illegal immigrants in the United States," he said after the tour. "It's a physical impossibility to deport them all, but where you have people who have been convicted of crimes there's absolutely no reason why those individuals ought not to be deported. We're going to use every means we have to get the countries of origin to take these people back."

    His concern was that inmates the federal government was unable to deport would be released and re-offend.

    Mr. Specter said he's considering legislation that would give aid to countries that would take back felons after they've served time
    Judge targeted for advocacy on immigration
    By Amy Worden for the Philadelphia Inquirer, 11/8/07

    HARRISBURG - A state Superior Court judge, who has been outspoken on the issue of illegal immigration, should be reprimanded and ordered to refrain from similar conduct in the future, according to a complaint filed with the state Judicial Conduct Board.

    The complaint alleges that Judge Correale Stevens - who on Tuesday won a retention election for a second 10-year term - violated the code of judicial conduct by advocating changes in immigration law at a statehouse rally and at other public events during the last year.
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