Senate Approves Scarnati Legislation to Deny Public Benefits to Illegal Aliens

HARRISBURG — Illegal aliens who live in Pennsylvania would be unable to obtain public benefits, including Medicaid, welfare and in-state college tuition, under legislation sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati that was approved today by the Senate with a bi-partisan vote of 41 to 9.

Senate Bill 9 would also ensure that the Commonwealth’s more than 100,000 illegal aliens face tighter scrutiny when applying for services.

“Pennsylvania must take the lead in this growing problem by ensuring government benefits and services are not provided to illegal aliens,” Scarnati said. “We need to provide protections for hardworking Pennsylvania taxpayers who ultimately bear the burden of supporting those who are entering our country illegally.”

Under current federal law, illegal aliens are prohibited from receiving federal, state or local public benefits with the exception of emergency medical care, necessary immunizations and disaster relief. However, Scarnati believes Pennsylvania law is simply too lenient in enforcing those provisions.

Scarnati’s bill would require anyone requesting public benefits in the Commonwealth to provide identification proving they are legal residents. Additionally, they would be required to sign an affidavit stating they are a U.S. citizen or an alien lawfully present in the United States.

Any applicant signing an affidavit stating they are a legal alien would have their status verified through the Federal Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement Program (SAVE), operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

“Only the Federal Government has the authority to increase border security and deport those who are residing in the country illegally,” noted Scarnati.  “However, states are free to pass laws which would deter illegal aliens from settling within their borders and encourage those who are already here to leave. Senate Bill 9 accomplishes just that.”

Senate Bill 9 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.


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