Daryl Metcalfe

Founder of State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI)

One of the most outspoken anti-immigrant elected officials at the state level, Pennsylvania Rep. Daryl Metcalfe has strong ties to national anti-immigrant groups and is the founder of State Legislators for Legal Immigration, the group of state-based elected officials responsible for introducing some of the harshest anti-immigrant legislation seen in the past decade.

  • Metcalfe was first elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1998 and began cultivating relationships with anti-immigrant groups a few years later.
  • In 2007, Metcalfe founded State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI), a network of anti-immigrant elected officials who worked directly with the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and its legal arm Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) to introduce attrition through enforcement or “self-deportation” style legislation at the state level. According to a press release, “Metcalfe founded this national coalition of state lawmakers with the mission of protecting American lives, personal liberties, property and jobs from the clear and present dangers of illegal immigration by demanding full cooperation among federal, state and local governments to secure America’s borders against unlawful invasion.” Other founding members of SLLI included Ken Cuccinelli, Russell Pearce and Kim Thatcher. In recent years, SLLI has become dormant, with a number of its founding members either no longer in office or moving into a higher office.
  • A few months later, Metcalfe traveled to Washington, D.C. where he and other anti-immigrant state-level elected officials held a press conference with Dan Stein of FAIR and Mike Hethmon of IRLI. The purpose of the press conference was to push federal elected officials to reject any immigration reform measures that would provide relief for undocumented individuals. Metcalfe told the press, “Congressional dereliction of duty has resulted in Americans suffering the consequences of identity theft, property theft, drug running, human trafficking, sexual assaults, murder, increased gang activity, terrorism and the many other clear and present dangers directly associated with the illegal alien invasion. It is long past time for Congress to put Americans first by legislatively burning the illegal alien amnesty national in-security blanket.”
  • At the same press event, Metcalfe announced that SLLI would be entering into a “working partnership” with IRLI to create a set of model attrition through enforcement legislation that state legislators across the country could introduce in their legislatures. The legislation would target things like in-state tuition for undocumented students and making the E-Verify program mandatory.
  • This model legislation paved the way for a wave of nativist legislation culminating with Arizona’s notorious SB 1070 law, introduced by SLLI member Russell Pearce. Pearce was in D.C. with Metcalfe for the press event with FAIR and IRLI.
  • Metcalfe was a vocal opponent of sanctuary cities a decade before the most recent wave of anti-immigrant organizing on the issue. In 2008 he announced a package of anti-sanctuary bills he dubbed the “National Security Begins at Home illegal immigration reform package,” after acknowledging that Pennsylvania did not have any so-called “sanctuary cities.” Metcalfe said his goal was to designate his state “a permanent no-vacancy zone for illegal aliens and the corresponding threats to our national sovereignty and personal safety.”
  • During the height of the push for attrition through enforcement legislation at the state level, Metcalfe attacked the 14th Amendment which grants citizenship to all born in the United States. In a press release in January of 2011, Metcalfe stated, “Currently, hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens are crossing U.S. borders to give birth and exploit their child as an “anchor baby,” as a means to obtain residency, access taxpayer-funded benefits and steal American jobs for themselves and for their families.” Again, IRLI provided support for the Metcalfe initiative.
  • Later that year, Metcalfe again traveled to Washington, D.C., this time to participate in FAIR’s annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire event.
  • In 2017, Metcalfe made a renewed attempt to pass a “National Security Begins at Home,” package following the election of Donald Trump. “There’s kind of a new sheriff in town in the White House,” Metcalfe told reporters.
  • In 2015, Metcalfe introduced an English-only bill and invited Robert Vandervoort, then head of the anti-immigrant group ProEnglish, founded by white nationalist John Tanton, to testify. Vandervoort previously led the Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance, a chapter of the white nationalist American Renaissance group headed by Jared Taylor, one of the most influential white nationalists of modern times. When pressed about Vandervoort’s views, Metcalfe stated, “It was an email put out alleging that somebody was a white nationalist, which is quite a bit different from a white supremacist. To say somebody is a nationalist and for the independence of their country and a patriot to defending their country, is a lot different from saying somebody is a racist.” Metcalfe received praise from The Daily Stormer, a notorious neo-Nazi website, for his comments.
  • In 2008, Metcalfe rejected a resolution in the Pennsylvania House to recognize the 60th annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim communitiy, saying, “The Muslims do not recognize Jesus Christ as God.”
  • In 2010, after introducing an SB 1070-style piece of omnibus legislation in Pennsylvania, Metcalfe wrote in an op-ed, “In the larger picture, the purpose of this legislation is to offer every illegal alien residing in Pennsylvania two options: leave immediately (‘self deport’) or go to jail.”
  • In 2014, Metcalfe introduced legislation aiming to take away licenses for any care facility providing shelter for unaccompanied minors fleeing violence in their home countries. According to Penn Live Metcalfe stated, “Pennsylvania residents have expressed concerns that unaccompanied illegal alien youth entering the Commonwealth could be carrying contagious diseases and that older youth could be members of violent gangs.”
  • Metcalfe has repeatedly used the derogatory term “anchor babies.” At a 2010 press conference to discuss legislation to scrap birthright citizenship, Metcalfe stated that his goal was to dismantle “an anchor baby status, in which an illegal alien invader comes into our country and has a child on our soil that is granted citizenship automatically.”
  • During the height of the “Birther” movement targeting President Obama, Metcalfe told the conspiracy theory website World Net Daily, “Once we’re sworn in we’ll be introducing the legislation that would require presidential candidates to prove their natural born citizenship before they are allowed to file petitions to have their name on the state ballot.”
  • In 2007, Metcalfe released a dehumanizing report entitled “Invasion PA” which vilified immigrants. In a press release announcing the report, Metcalfe scolded the United States government for what he called its “refusal to honor the constitutional obligation of securing America’s borders against foreign invaders.” According to the press release, then-Hazleton Mayor Lou Barletta joined Metcalfe and his colleagues at the PA Capitol Rotunda for the release of the report, which was quickly lambasted by the ACLU of Pennsylvania.
  • Metcalfe repeatedly refers to undocumented immigrants as “invaders,” and in a 2017 press conference stated, “Every illegal alien is a law breaker who broke the law from the time they stepped foot across our border to remaining within our border by violating a multitude of laws just to exist in our economy.”