PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Whether you call them illegal aliens, undocumented immigrants, illegals, or refugees, U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey says some of those unlawfully in this country can pose a danger especially when arrested and released by local law enforcement.
“This is about public safety,” says the Republican senator. “This is about not knowingly and willfully releasing into the public dangerous, violent criminals. This is not principally about immigration.”
Toomey has co-sponsored a bill to prohibit sanctuary cities — jurisdictions that won’t let local police cooperate with federal immigration and homeland security officials in holding and deporting undocumented residents.
“This is very, very bad policy, very dangerous. It is driven by politicians that are overruling the judgment of the law enforcement community, and we have already seen very tragic consequences,” adds Toomey.
Allegheny County councilman Ed Kress says this issue hits locally.
“I know in Ross Township we’ve had people raped by illegal aliens. Even back as far as 1997, we have a case where an illegal alien raped an elderly woman who was 68 years old,” says Kress.
Toomey’s bill also immunizes local jurisdictions from lawsuit for cooperating with the feds.
That’s what happened to Allegheny County when a Texas citizen was mistakenly detained here at the request of the feds.
“The federal government, and all federal, state, local agencies need to be able to talk,” says Butler County Sheriff Mike Slupe.
Speaking on behalf of Mayor Bill Peduto, Betty Cruz who coordinates the city’s Welcoming Pittsburgh program says the city welcomes all.
“Whether you are documented or undocumented, if you are living in the city of Pittsburgh you are a Pittsburgher,” says Cruz.
Cruz says the city is not a sanctuary city, but local police do not dig into the backgrounds of those stopped or arrested to determine if they are here illegally.
“There’s no need to do an extra special investigation, so sticking to the incident at hand is the protocol of the Pittsburgh bureau of police.”
And, says Cruz, that makes the 2,000 to 3,000 undocumented in this area more willing to work with local police in crime-solving.