Republicans in the Pennsylvania State Senate plan to draft a bill that would relocate migrants entering the state on Biden administration-sponsored flights to the president’s home state of Delaware.
State Sen. Mario Scavello, a Republican from Mount Pocono, issued a memo to colleagues asking them to support the forthcoming bill.
“In the very near future, I intend to introduce legislation to address the influx of illegal immigrants being relocated into Pennsylvania,” Scavello wrote, adding that his legislation will be fashioned after similar intentions voiced by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The legislation would implement a transportation program for the relocation of migrants from the commonwealth to the neighboring state of Delaware, according to Scavello’s memo.
“How many illegal immigrants has the president relocated to his own home state of Delaware?” he asked. “If it is good enough for Pennsylvania, then why not redirect the relocation to Delaware?”
Pennsylvania state Sen. Mario Scavello. (Photo by Paul Weaver/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
In November, DeSantis remarked of the flights appearing to land in Jacksonville: “We’ll provide buses … I will send them to Delaware and do that.”
Scavello’s bill would also prohibit state contracts from being issued to any federal contractors working to assist in the Biden administration’s relocation efforts.
The state lawmaker warned the coronavirus pandemic is being “further exacerbated” by the flood of illegal immigrants who are not tested for the virus.
“If the federal government is not willing to provide extra dollars to communities that have experienced increased strain on their healthcare systems, increased number of students in school districts and education costs and other services within our communities, then they shouldn’t be forced to take on more illegal immigrants and the additional financial responsibility,” he said
Another Pennsylvania Republican, state Sen. Doug Mastriano of Chambersburg, said Thursday he will be co-sponsoring Scavello’s legislation.
“We need to further examine the total number of illegal immigrants being sent to [Pennsylvania] by plane and bus,” said Mastriano, a retired Army colonel who is also running for governor.
“We also need to look at how much this is costing taxpayers and if Governor [Tom] Wolf and Attorney General [Josh] Shapiro were notified of the flights beforehand.”
Josh Shapiro, a Democrat, is the front-runner in that party’s 2022 gubernatorial primary — as Wolf is term-limited.
Wolf’s office recently told Fox News that migrant flights that arrived at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport on Dec. 11, 17 and 25 were not ending their journey there, but instead passing through on the way to their guardians and sponsors.
“Had any of the elected officials sending letters/statements asked, they would have received the same information that we have from HHS; over recent weeks, unaccompanied children passed through the Wilkes-Barre airport en route to their final destination to be unified with their parents or vetted sponsor,” said spokeswoman Beth Rementer. “These were not ICE flights.”
“As any elected official should know, immigration is a federal matter. Instead of making this a political PR stunt, their questions are best directed to the federal government,” Wolf’s office told the Delaware Valley Journal on the matter Jan. 3.
Mastriano’s office on Thursday released a report listing Department of Homeland Security data collectively referenced in an inquiry from Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., that tabulated 938 domestic migrant transfer flights accounting for 51,750 non-citizens.
A list of “cities transited” by “ICE air operations” included the state capital of Harrisburg, as well as Newark, Richmond, Albuquerque, Toledo and Miami.
Pennsylvania drew the attention of immigration hawks in late December after former Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa. shared photos obtained by Fox News that purported to show such flights landing in Biden’s birthplace of Scranton.
Days after those images were released, Barletta, who is also running for governor, alleged the Biden administration directed another “ghost flight” to nearby Allentown.
A World Atlantic Airlines flight touched down in Pennsylvania’s third-largest city on Dec. 30, according to WFMZ.
Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi and Adam Shaw contributed to this report.
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