HARRISBURG, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – The Pennsylvania Senate is advancing a measure that could cut off hundreds of millions of dollars in state subsidies to cities and counties that don’t honor detention requests from federal immigration authorities.
Senate staff aides say the subsidies that could get blocked under the bill totaled $1.3 billion last year to Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and more than a dozen counties. That included law enforcement grants and money meant to protect neglected or troubled children.
An analysis provided by the Senate Appropriations Committee shows the potential fiscal impact to Westmoreland County could be more than $50 million. In Butler County, it could be more than $25 million. Both are designated as “sanctuary counties” by the Center for Immigration Studies.
The City of Pittsburgh could lose more than $9 million in state funding if the bill becomes law. It hasn’t officially declared itself a “sanctuary city,” but the analysis states Pittsburgh has adopted policies and practices that are consistent with sanctuary policies.
Republican State Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, who represents parts of Allegheny and Washington Counties, is the primary sponsor of the bill.
The Republican-controlled Senate passed the bill on Tuesday, 37-12. Every Republican voted for the bill, as did three Democrats. All three Democrats from the Pittsburgh area voted against the bill.
The bill doesn’t specify which state agency would determine which municipalities and counties qualify as sanctuary cities. But Democratic Sen. Vincent Hughes of Philadelphia says as many as 32 counties could qualify as sanctuary cities.
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