Mar. 20, 2019

HARRISBURG – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Rob Kauffman (R-Franklin) led questioning today of Pennsylvania State Police deputy commissioners tasked with explaining the law enforcement agency’s interactions with foreign nationals and reports made to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Kauffman called the meeting in response to questions during budget hearings about how and when foreign nationals are reported to ICE, and what types of warrants are used as the basis for that report.

“It appears they are carefully reviewing case law, and while they continue to work diligently with immigration officials, they are also ensuring the Commonwealth is not exposed to liability,” said Kauffman.

The policy is structured in a way that prevents Pennsylvania from becoming a sanctuary state for illegal immigrants, he said.

Troopers cannot detain or arrest a foreign national based solely on immigration status, but they can contact ICE to provide its agents with pertinent information about that foreign national, Major James E. Degnan, acting deputy commissioner of operations, told the committee.

“The communication with ICE can occur at any point during or after the traffic stop … or during the encounter. The encounter can’t be extended specifically for the purpose of waiting for ICE or contacting ICE,” said Major Scott C. Price, acting deputy commissioner of administration and professional responsibility.

Pennsylvania State Police started updating its decades-old “arrest, detention or death of foreign nationals” policy about a year and a half ago. That policy defines a foreign national as a citizen or national of a foreign country, regardless of immigration status.

Kauffman, who shared gratitude for the state police’s work, said he wants to continue seeking clarification about the agency’s policy.

Representative Rob Kauffman
89th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Tricia Lehman