Wednesday, May 12, 2010

PA Law Enforcement Says, "No, Gracias," to AZ-style law in PA

Here's a blog post that just about writes itself. We know that passing House Bill 2479, Rep. Daryl Metcalfe's Arizona-style immigration bill, would be terrible for law enforcement in Pennsylvania. But I've been worried that law enforcement would not speak up in opposition.

Well, there's no need to worry. The media has been querying police and prosecutors on their feelings on the legislation, and the consensus has been overwhelmingly against it. Some choice cuts.

"I think the way we're doing it right now is working for us. Quite frankly, we have our hands full doing what we do now...Walking up to someone from the way they look or their speech or manner of dress, I think it's wrong. I think it's a slippery slope, and I think it's dangerous." --Chief Leo McCarthy, Moon Township (Allegheny County) Police Department, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, May 8

"At this point, Pennsylvania doesn't need any additional legislation to address the problem because it's just not at that level here in Pennsylvania." --Mary Beth Buchanan, former U.S. Attorney, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

"(A)nother unfunded mandate for local government, for local law enforcement." --Stephen A. Zappalla, Jr., Allegheny County District Attorney, Pittsburgh Tribune Review

"Some of the people who come up with these ideas, I almost think I know what they're trying to say. It's inexcusable. To me, it's, 'Anybody who's not white might be an illegal immigrant.' That's what I'm getting out of that. It's offensive. People who never come into contact with any kind of immigrants make a lot of assumptions on archaic stigmas, and it's frustrating." --Chief Keith Sadler, Lancaster Police Department, The Intelligencer Journal, May 5

"I don't know that the system is broken right now. There is a process in place through which we can verify a person's status." --Chief Mark Pugliese, West Hempfield Township (Lancaster County) Police Department, The Intelligencer Journal

"There's going to have to be an immense amount of training in how to make correct determinations, and in the area of documentation, especially counterfeit. That's going to be a huge market...This commonwealth has cut back funding for police training immensely. Whose dime is this going to be on? If it fell upon me, I need this budget for other things." --Chief William L. Harvey, Ephrata Borough (Lancaster County) Police Department, Intelligencer Journal

"From what I've seen, it would put a terrible burden on a district attorney and his staff - especially a smaller DA." --Shawn Wagner, District Attorney, Adams County, Hanover Evening Sun, May 9

"They might be here illegally and taking someone's job, but when you compare that with someone who has assaulted someone and left them in a vegetative state, you know where I have to put my resources." --Tom Kearney, District Attorney, York County, Hanover Evening Sun

Well said.

Andy in Harrisburg

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