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Pennsylvania State Police adapts new policy for foreign nationals

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A new policy is now in effect for Pennsylvania State Troopers and their interactions with foreign nationals.

It's brand new policy that has been worked on over the past two years to give troopers specific instructions about what they can and cannot do when it comes to contact with foreign nationals.

"We are humans, we have feelings, we are not things, we do a lot of the same things as them," a mother of two and Central Pennsylvanian resident explained.

She became emotional as she spoke about the way many of her friends said they've been treated by police officers in Pennsylvania.

"Police stop us because we look different to them, a different color," Josefina, who is of mexican dissent, explained.

She said friends of hers were detained, after being stopped by state troopers who called ICE immediately when they couldn't provide papers.

"It's hard to see this happen to our community," Josefina said.

At CASA, a non-profit that works with immigrant families, volunteers realized it was happening too often, police acting as immigration enforcement.

So, they took their concerns before the governor and state police. That and reports by a Philadelphia newspaper, led to conversations about changes.

Eventually, a new policy for state troopers when they come into contact with foreign nations was put together.

There are many parts to the policy. It can be found online, as police said they want to be transparent.

It's referred to as AR 7-14.

It says troopers cannot attempt to detain or arrest a foreign national based solely on immigration status.

It also says they cannot engage in indiscriminate questioning of status without reasonable suspicion of violation of the law.

They also can't summarily question passengers regarding status.

They can, however contact ICE after their interaction with the person is completed if they have an Administrative Immigration Warrant.

For folks at CASA, and friends of Josefina, this is a big step forward, a relief for many, but as with any policy, they say it's important it is followed.

"It's important they know about this law because we know, and we are happy and welcome for that," Josefina said.

Also under the policy, troopers are required to report their interactions in a specific template, that way they can be tracked appropriately.

The policy was introduced last week, but state police said more training will follow.

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