LOWER MACUNGIE – Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh) issued the following statement about the rally in support of illegal immigration that took place in the Lehigh Valley today:
“Rep. Danilo Burgos and the other radical extremists who came from Philadelphia brought their hate-filled, divisive rhetoric with them to the Lehigh Valley. It is sad to see this taking place in America, and I completely denounce their stated goals of defunding law enforcement and allowing for wide open borders.
“The words and actions expressed by Rep. Burgos and others are putting people in jeopardy by allowing for increased drug use, increased human trafficking that exploits people through sex trafficking and forced labor, increased crime in our communities, and increased targeting of law enforcement.
“The Free Migration Project, one of the groups invited to join Rep. Burgos at the rally, states right on its website, “we support the growing movements to abolish immigration enforcement and open the borders.” They do not even try to hide their radical extremist agenda to defund law enforcement and allow for an unfettered flow of drugs, crime, and terrorists through an open southern border. What is even more alarming is the fact that elected officials like Rep. Burgos would stand side-by-side with radical extremists like this and give them a platform.
“Rep. Burgos represents the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. The entire world has seen the devastation that drugs have inflicted on huge numbers of people in that community. Many of those drugs come from Mexican drug cartels, through a wide-open border, and end up in communities like Kensington. More than most, Rep. Burgos should be aware of the suffering his constituents, and people across the country, are facing and should be working for solutions that help people. Rep. Burgos should be working to solve the problems created by illegal immigration in places like Kensington instead of spewing hate speech here in the Lehigh Valley.”
Mackenzie pointed to a recent Quinnipiac University Poll (Jan 10, 2024) which found, “An overwhelming majority of voters (84%) consider illegal immigration at the U.S. border with Mexico as either a very serious problem (59%) or a somewhat serious problem (25%), while 14% consider it as either a not so serious problem (11%) or not a problem at all (3%). Nearly eight in 10 voters (79%) also think Democratic congressional leaders should compromise on their positions on border security to come to an agreement with Republican congressional leaders, while 15% think they should not.”
In a Politico article from Dec. 7, 2023, Pennsylvania’s junior U.S. Senator John Fetterman laid out the situation. “I hope Democrats can understand that it isn’t xenophobic to be concerned about the border,” Fetterman said. “It’s a reasonable conversation, and Democrats should engage.”
The article went on to say that, “Fetterman, a progressive favorite, urged Democrats to acknowledge the large numbers of migrants streaming across the southern border. He cited the nearly 270,000 border encounters that U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported in September. Honestly, it’s astonishing. And this isn’t a Fox News kind of statistic. This is the government’s, he said. You essentially have Pittsburgh showing up there at the border.”
Back on Sept. 7, 2023, the New York Times ran a story where Mayor Eric Adams said that he “did not see an ending” to the immigration problem and renewed his push for federal help. The headline of the story also explained that Mayor Adams said the “migrant crisis” will destroy New York City.
According to Mackenzie, the federal government clearly bears responsibility for addressing this crisis. In the absence of their action, states can play a role by implementing some bipartisan solutions that will help enforce existing laws and mitigate the impacts of illegal immigration.
“My six-bill package includes proposals that would help to prevent the problems being created here in Pennsylvania by the federal government’s failed immigration policy, which is allowing hundreds of thousands of people to enter the U.S. illegally every month, and millions annually. When these items are allowed to have a vote on the floor of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, my colleagues overwhelmingly agree with bipartisan supermajorities.
“Democrats that support the radical open borders agenda and oppose law enforcement are the only ones that seem to be opposed. For instance, when I offered an amendment to a bill that would require the Pennsylvania State Police to notify the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General of all attempts to purchase firearms by persons who are illegally or unlawfully in the U.S., it passed 141-60. If that legislative solution was allowed to run as a stand-alone bill as it is drafted in House Bill 1066
, it would have enough bipartisan support to pass the House, and it would make our communities safer if it became law.
“In addition, the law I authored in 2019 requiring employers in the construction industry to use the federal E-Verify system to protect American jobs by ensuring that employees do not include individuals who are not authorized to work in the U.S. passed with bipartisan supermajorities in both the House and Senate on its way to becoming law. So, it is obvious that radical extremists in
opposition to commonsense legislative solutions relating to illegal immigration are truly in the fringe minority.”
Mackenzie’s package of bills to crack down on illegal immigration in Pennsylvania includes:
• Requiring E-Verify for All Public Contracts – House Bill 274
would require all public contractors and subcontractors to use the federal E-Verify system to ensure their workforce does not include individuals not authorized to work in the U.S.
• ICE Background Checks for Firearm Purchases – House Bill 1066
would require the Pennsylvania State Police to notify ICE and the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General of all attempts to purchase firearms by persons who are illegally or unlawfully in the U.S.
• Protecting Vulnerable Children from Labor Exploitation – House Bill 1714
would provide stronger penalties for unscrupulous employers who take advantage of the most vulnerable children, and to provide cross reporting requirements that will notify other authorities to protect the child in specific situations, including cases of unaccompanied minors.
• Ending Sanctuary Cities – House Bill 1840
would prevent Pennsylvania municipalities and counties from designating themselves as sanctuary cities to thwart federal efforts to combat illegal immigration by restricting the enforcement of immigration law.
• Improving Accuracy of Voter Registration Records – House Bill 1883
would improve the accuracy and integrity of voter registration records through a cross-reference with the Unified Judicial System of Pennsylvania.
• Prohibiting Noncitizens from Voting in Pennsylvania Elections – House Bill 1890
would clarify the state Constitution’s voter qualifications provisions, providing for a more specific prohibition on noncitizens voting in elections at any level in the Commonwealth.
Representative Ryan Mackenzie
187th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Andy Briggs