Pennsylvania State Police Become a Sanctuary Agency
By David Jaroslav | February 15, 2019
In an apparent bow to media and political pressure, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) have adopted a new policy that significantly ties the hands of the Keystone State’s 4,719 state troopers and 1,850 civilian employees when dealing with possible illegal aliens.
Issued January 30, the new policy, officially known as AR-714 and titled “Arrest/Detention or Death of Foreign Nationals,” does the following:
- Limits asking about immigration status inquiries to only people who are already the subject of a traffic stop, detention or criminal arrest, i.e., no asking when there isn’t already “reasonable suspicion” of a violation of state or local law and no asking, for example, passengers rather than the driver of a stopped car;
- Prohibits detention or arrest based solely on immigration status;
- Prohibits detention or arrest based solely on an administrative immigration warrant, i.e., an immigration detainer;
- Declares immigration detainers not to be evidence of any possible criminality, i.e., they cannot be a basis for further investigation; and
- Allows but does not require notification to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after an encounter with a possible illegal alien is over, but forbids detaining them until ICE arrives.
The origins of the new policy appear to lie in an April 2018 series of critical articles about immigration enforcement in Pennsylvania called “No Sanctuary,” published jointly by the Philadelphia Inquirer and the nonprofit “investigative journalism” company ProPublica. Based apparently solely on reading those articles, Governor Tom Wolf (D) “ordered the state police to conduct a review.”
As PSP spokesman Ryan Tarkowski explained at the time, the agency, “considers each traffic stop unique and views the state as a gateway to the Northeast, placing a special responsibility on its highway patrol officers to be on the alert for drug, gun, and human traffickers and to reach out as necessary to federal agencies.” AR-714 appears to only make that responsibility more difficult to exercise.
In fairness, the PSP may have adopted their new policy in hopes of keeping Gov. Wolf from imposing something even more extreme on them. He has now commended them for it. Open-borders groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have called it a “baby step” that doesn’t go far enough in protecting illegal aliens. But by limiting its cooperation with ICE, the new policy will still make American citizens, legal immigrants and even the PSP’s own personnel less safe.