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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

PA's Sanctuary Cities

Written by Rich Copeland - Producer, WITF's Smart Talk | Mar 8, 2017 8:00 PM

What to look for on Smart Talk - Thursday, March 9th, 2017:

A 'sanctuary city' is one that welcomes refugees and undocumented immigrants without fear of prosecution or deportation by its municipal agencies.  It is an unofficial title, usually designated by executive officials in city government.  Both Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have declared themselves 'sanctuary cities.'

Some cities, like Lancaster, haven't officially announced their 'sanctuary city' status, though they make it clear that there would be no collusion between local law enforcement and the federal government in deporting undocumented residents and welcoming refugees.

Last month, the Pennsylvania State Senate approved a bill that would withhold state funds from 'sanctuary cities' that do not share information on undocumented residents with federal authorities.  The vote passed the senate 37-12, with every Republican senator and three Democratic senators supporting the bill.  The bill would result in a loss of up to $1.3 billion for municipalities seeing as harboring the undocumented. 

Supporters of the bill argue they are simply enforcing the rule of law.  Opponents regard it as a knee-jerk reaction to addressing "our broken national immigration system."

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Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray / PA State Senator Richard Alloway (R-33rd)

Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray will join WITF's Smart Talk in studio to discuss the policies he has enacted in his city and how this bill may impact its economy.  State Senator Richard Alloway (R-33rd) will also discuss his support for the bill and how he would like to see municipalities interact with the federal government in enforcing immigration law.


on sanctuary cities:

- As the son of a legal immigrant, I am absolutely enraged with "Sanctuary Cities", anchor babies, and the politicians who support this favoritism for what is essentially one group of people.

My Mother, a citizen of Romania during the criminal Ceaucescu dictatorship was not allowed entry to the US for over a year after marrying my father, a US citizen.

Life in Romania under Communism was miserable for most people, and hellish for some, including my family, who among other things were survivors of the Soviet Gulag.

What is especially painful is the fact that my father had the ability and the connections to provide financial security for not just my mother, but the entire family, one of whom, a young man, committed suicide out of despair.

And, by the way, my Mother learned English in less than a year, and was ecstatic to become a US Citizen at the earliest date possible.                                         - Andre, Carlisle

Please tell the Senator that it depends on the crime. If a person obtains a fake ID to get a job, I don't think we need to hold them for that.                                  - Bill

- Many got here legally but ICE failed to enforce laws!!!!!!!                     - Geoffo

-  Mayor Gray is correct: immigration offenses are civil offenses, not criminal offenses.

Obviously people who commit crimes should be charged with crimes. That goes for immigrants and citizens alike. But being here without documentation is not a crime. And despite the senator's cherry-picked facts, immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than the general population. If an undocumented immigrant is being charged with a crime, the police should hold them. If they are not being charged with a crime, the police cannot hold them any more than they could hold a citizen who is not being charged with a crime.

Police officers are not federal immigration officials and should not act as such.   - Alex, Lititz

- if someone who is not here legally is known to be here by local law enforcement and said individual later commits a crime, say kills someone, will the municipality's insurance co pay out in the event the deceased's family sues the city?                                       - Michael

 - I'm not understanding Sen. Alloway's statements. Can he please walk us through step-by-step where the system is breaking down?

He used an example of my getting arrested for murder. So, take that through. If I get arrested for murder, how am I going to be walking the street immediately after my arrest? And at what point in the process is my immigrations status checked?

By the same token, if I get cited for pulled over for my third speeding offense, are you saying the officer has to check my immigration status before he can let me go?

Are we saying we're going to report every arrest to ICE to check for a detainer?       - Dorothy, Carlisle

- Since the current immigration situation is the result of Congress's failure to address comprehensive immigration reform, what has the senator done to lobby his congressman to stop kicking the can down the road and act?                                                        - Stephan, Red Lion

My mother lived in a small Texas town that used to be as safe as 'Mayberry'.  Five other widows live on her street in homes they have occupied for 50 plus years.  They now have drive by shootings.  Violent crime and drugs have increased significantly.  The school district is 85% Hispanic now.  Spanish is the primary language in the homes.  Taxpayers provide education and healthcare and it has become overwhelming.  In Texas, it is rare that Mexican immigrants are properly documented.  My husband employs immigrants from other countries who went through the legal process and they REALLY resent 'undocumented' immigrants.                                                                                                               - Katherine, York

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