Pennsylvania Senate Approves Bill to Keep Public Benefits from Illegal Aliens

By Eric Veronikis

The Senate yesterday approved a bill that denies public benefits to illegal immigrants.

Senate Bill 9 requires anyone requesting public benefits to provide identification that proves they are legal residents, according to the legislation. Applicants would also have to sign an affidavit that states they are a U.S. citizen or legal immigrant.

The bill is sponsored by Senate President Pro Tempore Joseph B. Scarnati III (R-Cameron, Elk, Jefferson, McKean, Potter and parts of Clearfield and Warren counties).

If the bill is approved by the House of Representatives and signed into law by the governor, illegal immigrants would no longer be eligible for benefits such as Medicaid, welfare, and in-state college tuition, according to Scarnati's office.

Illegal immigrants cost the state about $285 million annually in public benefits, according to Scarnati's office, which cited estimates from The Federation for American Immigration Reform. That figure is expected to grow to $812 million by 2020, according to Scarnati's office.