State rep defends anti-sanctuary city bill against accusation of 'hate'
Pa. state rep. Martina White is on the defensive a week after she introduced legislation aimed at ending the practice of "sanctuary cities" in the state and got herself an earful of criticism. White says she is just standing up for her constituents.
Philly freshman GOP state rep. Martina White got a swift and angry response from local media after she introduced legislation that would prohibit Philly’s sanctuary city status.
Spanish-language newspaper Al Dia accused her of quoting a “hate group,” she was called “Martina White Power” by the Tattle Tot news blog, and KYW described her bill as “anti-immigration legislation.”
White called these reports attempts to “distract” from her bill, and denied any anti-immigrant or hateful motivation.
“I'm a very fair person and I think anyone who has ever met me would say the same,” said White, 27, who represents the 170th district in Northeast Philly. “It’s aggravating when people try to distract from the real issues. I get it, but it’s important that these issues get addressed.”
White’s bill, HB 1885, would apply statewide and hold sanctuary cities “liable” for damages to people or property caused by “unauthorized aliens.” It also would prohibit restrictions on not notifying federal immigration authorities about potential illegal immigrants, letting law enforcement ask people about their immigration status or requesting proof of eligibility in state benefits applications.
During a March 23 press conference on the legislation, White quoted research from the D.C.-based Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) which found illegal immigrants cost Pennsylvania $1.3 billion a year in public services, such as schools, health care and criminal justice.