PICC supports the campaign for equal access to driver’s licenses for all residents of Pennsylvania.
Prior to 2002, residents of Pennsylvania were able to legally obtain a driver’s license with a Tax ID Number, or ITIN. In 2009, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation wrongly cancelled the licenses of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who had obtained their licenses legally.
The ability to legally drive allows immigrants to fully contribute to the local economy. Access to transportation is necessary for the many immigrant workers, business owners, parents, and students in Pennsylvania.
- In 2012, undocumented Pennsylvanians contributed $134 million in taxes in PA.
- Drivers who cannot obtain licenses or insurance cost the state millions of dollars in damage claims each year, driving up premiums for everyone else. When New Mexico passed a law allowing driver’s licenses for undocumented residents, the state’s uninsurance rate dropped by over 20% in only 5 years, reducing insurance premiums and saving millions of dollars.
- When New York considered allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, the State Department of Insurance estimated that expanded license access would reduce the premium costs associated with uninsured motorist coverage by 34 percent, saving New York drivers $120 million each year.
The roads and highways are safer when everyone behind the wheel has a license, insurance, and identification. For this reason, police officers and sheriffs around the country are in favor of this right being granted to all people. An unmarked license is necessary to encourage all drivers in Pennsylvania to obtain a license. A marked license would perpetuate the fear many immigrants have of deportation and family separation.
Eleven states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Vermont, Washington) as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia already allow their residents to obtain driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status. New Mexico and Washington provide an unmarked license.
The right to mobility, to move freely, is inscribed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many other fundamental rights — to work, to education, and to human dignity — are only accessible via valid identification and adequate transportation.