Smith-Wade-El and Hohenstein’s legislation to create Office of New Pennsylvanians reported out of committee

HARRISBURG, June 5 – State Reps. Ismail Smith-Wade-El, D-Lancaster, and Joe Hohenstein, D-Philadelphia, announced that their bill, House Bill 1630, that would create an Office of New Pennsylvanians to support, attract and retain immigrants in the commonwealth, was reported out of House State Government Committee on Monday.

“It is thanks to our immigrant communities that Pennsylvania is the dynamic economic and cultural powerhouse it is,” Smith-Wade-El said. “It is an incredible injustice that despite foreign-born workers comprising over 8% of our state’s workforce and paying $3.3 billion yearly in state and local taxes, they are scapegoated and bear the brunt of punitive policies that drive them from our state. But it is Pennsylvania that’s the biggest loser when this happens—losing skilled workers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and community leaders.

“I am very glad that the House State Government Committee agreed there is need for an Office of New Pennsylvanians that would support, attract and retain immigrants in the commonwealth,” he said.

“Immigration is what makes Pennsylvania strong,” Hohenstein said. “Our collective ability to come together from all different backgrounds and perspectives for the betterment of the commonwealth is truly wonderful. That’s why it’s particularly unfortunate that so often our immigrant communities face the brunt of regressive and restrictive policies that harm their ability to prosper and deter further immigration. In establishing the Office of New Pennsylvanians, we would ensure that Pennsylvania is able to grow and prosper, recognizing that immigration is a vital part of that.”

The bill is on its way to the House floor for a vote.