HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Immigrant advocacy group CASA brought their demands to the Capitol Wednesday, meeting with lawmakers about what they want to see this legislative session.
CASA has three main priorities, issues that the group has pushed for several years, but they said they have renewed hope under the Shapiro administration.
“We’re going to give the same fight and vigor for each and every one of those priorities to make sure that we’re pushing them through,” CASA’s Pennsylvania state director Daniel Alvalle said.
First, they are supporting a bill to let people get driver’s licenses no matter their immigration status. The bill is sponsored by Philadelphia County Democrat Rep. Danilo Burgos.
“Help people that are here contributing to the growth of Pennsylvania day in and day out,” Burgos said.
The group also wants to make it easier for families to protect their homes against severe weather by securing more funding for the Whole-Home Repairs program, which started in 2022. CASA says this is an issue of climate justice.
“One of our very own CASA members, they live nearby a river. Every time it floods, it floods her home,” Alvalle said.
CASA also wants to raise the minimum wage to $15, an issue Governor Shapiro voiced support for in his budget address.
“One of the members talked about, ‘I have to make a choice, do I want my family to eat, do I pay for insurance?'” Alvalle said.
CASA is hoping that lawmakers can put themselves in these families’ shoes and understand how it impacts them.
“Being able to put people in a place to say, ‘How would you live on a day-to-day basis if you had to work two, three jobs to make ends meet?’ Where now you have to sacrifice your family, your relationship, your community, to be able to make ends meet for your family,” explained CASA Pennsylvania State Director, Daniel Alvalle.
Several Democrats like Rep. Burgos are sponsoring bills to advance these issues, but bipartisan support is tough to find.
“It is amazing that not one Republican legislator wants to help us on this issue at this moment,” Burgos said.
Still, CASA members are encouraged by support from the Shapiro administration.
“100 percent confident that they have the community’s, the immigrant community, that they have their best interests at hand,” Alvalle said.
abc27 reached out to House and Senate Republicans for comments on CASA’s priorities but did not receive a response.