Illegal aliens would be denied Medicaid, in-state college tuition and other public benefits under a measure, SB 9, approved by the Senate.
The sponsor of the bill, President Pro Tem Joe Scarnati, R-Jefferson, said the measure would establish tighter scrutiny and criminal penalties that the Commonwealth's more than 100,000 estimated illegal aliens would face when applying for services.
"Pennsylvania needs to take the lead on the growing problem of illegal immigrants, and stop providing government benefits and services to those who enter this country outside the law," Scarnati said in a statement. "Hardworking, taxpaying Pennsylvania residents are faced with the burden of supporting those who are entering our country illegally, and the problem is only getting worse every year."
Scarnati's bill would require individuals 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 the affidavit stating they are a legal alien would have their immigration status verified through the Federal Systematic Alien Verification of Entitlement Program (SAVE), operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Federal law prohibits illegal aliens from receiving federal, state or local public benefits with the exception of emergency medical care, necessary immunizations and disaster relief. However, Pennsylvania law is simply too lenient in enforcing those provisions.