GOP lawmakers seek to tax money that illegal immigrants send back to home countries

Several Republican lawmakers in Pennsylvania are seeking a practical solution to achieve property tax and rent relief for residents in the wake of illegal immigrants settling in the commonwealth.

State Senator Doug Mastriano, a 2022 gubernatorial candidate, has sponsored an amendment to the Money Transmission Business Licensing Law of 1965 seeking to place a fee on international remittances made by illegal immigrants residing in Pennsylvania. GOP State Sens. Mario Scavello, Kristin Phillips-Hill and Pat Stefano have co-sponsored SB 1158 which seeks to divert the levied fees to the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program.

“As President Biden continues to neglect the porous southwest border and Governor Wolf continues to look the other way as illegal immigrants are transited into towns across Pennsylvania, Senator Doug Mastriano is taking action at the state level,” a Mastriano press release announced.

“An international remittance is a sum of money that is electronically sent out of the Pennsylvania economy and into the economies of international destinations. Over $70 billion dollars is transferred out of the United States and into the economies of recipient countries on an annual basis,” the press release explained.

“Our economy loses out on millions of dollars earned by illegal immigrants here and then sent to help other countries. Meanwhile, legal citizens struggle with absurd property tax rates and skyrocketing rent costs,” the lawmaker said in a statement. “This bill will direct tens of millions of new dollars to the Property Tax/Rent Rebate program to give much-needed relief to struggling families.”

With another migrant surge on the horizon as President Joe Biden repeals the protections afforded by Title 42, lawmakers are bracing for the impact on state economies among other concerns.

“It’s safe to assume many will make their way north to states like Pennsylvania. Once settled in a new state, illegal immigrants primarily use a money transfer agent such as Western Union to send earnings back to their home nations,” Mastriano told Fox News last week.

“[This] is a unique bill that will place a fee on those types of transactions. It’s a great way to deter illegal immigration — and we can put that new revenue towards tax breaks for legal citizens in our commonwealth,” added the senator, a supporter of former President Trump who was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Scavello, a Republican state senator from Mount Pocono who co-sponsored the bill, has also been behind an effort to relocate immigrants being transported into Pennsylvania by the Biden administration. Their destination would be Biden’s home state of Delaware.

“How many illegal immigrants has the president relocated to his own home state of Delaware?” he said to Fox News in January. “If it is good enough for Pennsylvania, then why not redirect the relocation to Delaware?”

“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 at the time.

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