HARRISBURG, Pa. - Protests met Pennsylvania lawmakers Monday as they introduced legislation that would restrict rights for undocumented immigrants.
"There's kind of a new sheriff in town in the White House," said state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, a Butler County Republican. "Donald Trump has certainly stood strong in standing up for the rights of Americans."
A group of Republicans calls the six pieces of legislation "National Security Begins At Home."
Rep. Jerry Knowles, who serves Berks and Schuylkill counties, sponsors one bill, which would pull federal funding from sanctuary colleges or schools that say it's OK for undocumented students to study there.
"You should not harbor illegal aliens, and that's exactly what they're doing," he said.
Another piece of legislation would make it mandatory for employers to check if potential employees legal status.
The measures would also take away government benefits from people who are not legal citizens and create penalties for sanctuary cities.
But protesters said if the bills become law, they will not only affect people who are undocumented, they will also hurt people legally in the United States.
"The people that will be impacted will be other low-income communities and communities of color. For example people who can't produce identification," said Casa regional director Elizabeth Alex.
More than a dozen protesters held signs as lawmakers introduced the bills.
"We'll have to see if cooler heads prevail," said Alex.
The bills will soon go to the state government committee for consideration.
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