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PA House Approves Kauffman’s Bill Addressing Illegal Immigration Through Increased Penalties for Human Smuggling
HARRISBURG – A bill aimed at addressing one of the many problems arising out of the federal government’s lack of enforcement when it comes to illegal immigration was approved in the state House today. House Bill 856, authored by Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Cumberland/Franklin), would prohibit the smuggling of humans in Pennsylvania for profit or other commercial purposes.

“Because the federal government is doing little to nothing about the growing influx of illegal immigrants entering the United States, legislation such as mine has become necessary,” said Kauffman. “Knowing that the laws are so lax in regard to illegal immigrants already in the states, the incidences of human smuggling have continued to escalate. My legislation looks to combat this illegal activity by increasing the penalties for those who commit these crimes.”

Kauffman’s bill would make the smuggling of human beings who are knowingly in the United States unlawfully a third-degree felony. Those convicted would face a fine of up to $15,000 and/or a maximum prison sentence of up to seven years.

“We need greater penalties both to punish and to serve as a deterrent for those individuals who prey upon the weak and vulnerable for profit,” said Kauffman. “My legislation supports the efforts of law enforcement officers by giving them the tools needed to better protect individuals and address this continuing problem.”

House Bill 856 is part of a package of bills known as the National Security Begins at Home proposal, which is designed to restore safety and security to communities by denying public benefits, employment access and all other economic incentives to those who are in the Commonwealth illegally.

“I appreciate the support of my colleagues in the House who realize the need for individual states to strengthen their laws in light of a lack of willingness to do so at the federal level,” said Kauffman. “Pennsylvania citizens cannot afford to have people engaged in this type of criminal activity walking the streets of their communities. And they cannot afford to have people in the state illegally who do not pay taxes but take their jobs, deplete the available health care and welfare streams, and strain our education system.”

Kauffman’s bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.

State Representative Rob Kauffman
89th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman
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