"Senator Greenleaf, head of the State Senate Judiciary Committee, has abdicated his responsibilities to twelve million legal Pennsylvanians by never speaking out on illegal immigration," Albert said. "Pennsylvania needs a policy which reduces the number of illegal immigrants by ending the 'wink-wink-nod-nod' approach. Too often in our state and our nation this growing problem has been met with indifference, promises of amnesty, or ineffective and counterproductive solutions."
As recently reported by the Pew Hispanic Center, there are more than 100,000 illegal immigrants in Pennsylvania, comprising about 1 percent of the state's population. Pennsylvania's Attorney General, at recent hearings on illegal immigration held by Pennsylvania House Republicans, after decrying the cost of imprisoning illegal immigrants, promised only to study the issue. Lynn Swann, the GOP candidate for Governor, totally ignores this issue in his more than 100 page policy statement on the future of Pennsylvania.
Jeff Albert believes we can do a better job on illegal immigration by:
¨ Targeting the types of employers (predominantly in agriculture, construction and manufacturing) who employ illegal immigrants and to wean them away from employing them.
¨ Taking $50 million from WAM and Legislative Leadership Accounts over the next four years to work with those employers to develop means of assuring that they will have legal workers on the job. Meanwhile, these employers would also agree to standards to ensure that taxes will be paid, by both employers and employees, both legal and illegal.
¨ Ensuring that employers who sign-up for this program agree to abide by increasingly tough checks, starting with the Basic Pilot Program, on the legal status of their workforces, not the current system which encourages rampant identity theft. Those who do not sign-up would face strict scrutiny, loss of business licenses and the prospect of no state governmental incentives and even loss of deductions on their state taxes.
¨ Complete Pennsylvania's compliance with the federal Real ID Act before May 2008 and integrate that system with employee check requirements
This proposal would give us a chance to put Pennsylvania on the path to reducing this problem drastically, not by building a 350-foot high Berlin wall around our state, or by treating people as something less than human, but by cutting the lure which brings these desperate people here illegally in the first place. All of this could be done without spending one additional taxpayer dollar, but will have less self-serving use of taxpayers' money by our State Legislature.
"The purpose of our policy should be to discourage and reduce employment of illegal immigrants," Albert said. "We need to develop a database of illegal immigrants so that they cannot bounce from job to job, using phony papers, which ultimately leaves our domestic security system in shambles. We will need to institute checks to insure that those in this state are not engaged in criminal conduct. Our national policy on dealing with 11 million illegal immigrants has been a failure. It is high time for our state legislators, like Sen. Greenleaf, to be pro-active and quit pretending that there is nothing for us to do to help the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."