Session: 2023-2024

ACLU-PA Position: Opposes

SB 1127 (PN 1513) would require state and county prosecutors to notify ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) if they become aware that a criminal defendant is not a citizen or is otherwise unlawfully in the United States.

ICE already has more than enough tools it needs to target people for immigration enforcement. But SB 1127 would mandate that state and county prosecutors add federal immigration enforcement to their job duties—a civil enforcement role that is wholly distinct from the job they are trained to do.

Furthermore, entangling these two distinct systems by involving ICE during on-going criminal cases could have harmful ripple effects throughout the criminal legal system, including:

  • A chilling effect on defendants’ court access and therefore their due process rights;
  • Victims could be denied their day in court if charges are dismissed due to defendants not appearing;
  • Immigrant victims could be deterred from even pressing charges for fear of ICE involvement;
  • Criminal cases could be derailed when witnesses choose not to cooperate or appear: and
  • Burdens prosecutors with duties outside their expertise and potentially exposes them to legal jeopardy.

If/when ICE detains or removes a person during a criminal proceeding, it undermines the resolution of that case. In other words, SB 1127 would allow civil immigration enforcement to interrupt, if not override, adjudication of a case pending in the criminal legal system.

Check the bill's status here.


Senator Dan Laughlin



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