News & Views

CALL YOUR STATE LEGISLATOR on Tuesday, April 25th, in support of HB769: Driver’s Licenses for All!

Pennsylvania, as well as most states, used to permit driver’s licenses for any resident who passed the test, but that all changed after 9/11. After that point residents needed to have a social security number in order to apply for a license. This attempt to prevent would-be terrorists from hurting us did nothing to stop terrorism and instead made our streets less safe, made it harder for businesses to staff up, and rendered legally authorized immigrants more vulnerable.

Thousands of Pennsylvania residents are legally permitted to reside here while they are waiting for their immigration petitions to work their way through the courts. They are legal residents and they are authorized to work, but they have to wait—sometimes as long as a decade—to get their cases finalized and to receive their social security numbers. In the meantime, they are not permitted to drive. As you can imagine, however, for some jobs and some places in PA, driving is critical.

Pennsylvania should become the 22nd State to allow driver’s licenses for all for four reasons:

1. Public Safety: Maintaining road safety for everyone is vital.  We do this by ensuring that all drivers, regardless of their immigration status, are properly trained, licensed and insured. When all Pennsylvanians are able to study and pass a driving test, our roads are safer for everyone. All families and children deserve to feel safe on our roads! Check out the Driving PA Forward Coalition’s report, Driver’s Licenses for All: The Key to Safety and Security in Pennsylvania, to learn more.

2. Strengthening Pennsylvania’s Economy: Immigrant families and workers are critical to the economy of Pennsylvania and the thousands of towns and cities across our commonwealth. These workers and families depend on access to a driver’s license to sustain their households and bring economic benefit to the entire state. The first year of enacting this proposed legislation could see between $2.76 million and $4.14 million in revenue from licensing fees alone, with a possible $2.36 million to $53.54 million in subsequent years, far outpacing the cost of implementation. Read more about the economic impact of this legislation in the Coalition’s report, Enacting Driver’s License Expansion Policy That Works for Everyone.

3. Meeting Pennsylvanians’ Basic Needs: A driver’s license is critical for meeting everyday needs for millions of Pennsylvanians. Getting to grocery stores, entering our children’s schools, getting to work, or renting a home can be difficult—if not impossible—without a driver’s license. Expanding access to non-REAL ID driver’s licenses will help ensure that all Pennsylvanians have equal access to the fundamental resources needed to live, work, and thrive in our communities.

4. Family Unity: When immigrants are forced to drive without a driver’s license in order to survive, simple traffic stops can result in detention, deportation, and family separation. Allowing everyone in PA to drive legally and free of fear will contribute to maintaining healthy families that stay together.

Call your state legislator today—and ask for passage of HB769 to help make Pennsylvania safer for everyone.

Calling your legislator – Driving PA Forward – HB769

As a supporter of the Driving PA Forward Coalition (La Coalición Manejando Pennsylvania PA’Lante), it is crucial to voice your concerns and opinions to your legislators. Your message could make a significant impact on the decision-making process. This guide will help you make an effective call to your legislator advocating for inclusive driver’s license policies in Pennsylvania.

Step 1: Identify Your Legislators

To find your state legislators, visit the Pennsylvania General Assembly’s “Find Your Legislator” page: Make note of each legislator’s phone number. 

Step 2: Learn about Your Legislators

Before making the call, take some time to learn about your legislator’s background, interests and stance on immigration and driver’s license policies if they have one. For basic information, visit the legislator’s page on the PA General Assembly website. 

  • Members of the PA House of Representatives can be found here
  • Members of the PA Senate can be found here

For additional information, click on the icons under the legislator’s picture. These will take you to the legislator’s website and social media. 

The more you know about your legislators, the more effectively you can make connections with them. For instance, if a legislator represents a district with a large immigrant population, you might mention that. Or if a legislator has supported similar bills in the past, you could thank them. If the legislator is someone who has not supported similar bills in the past but is concerned with public safety, that is useful information, too! Be sure to highlight the positive impact driver’s licenses for all would have on road and community safety.

Step 3: Make the Call

Use the following prompt as a guideline for your phone call:

“Hello, my name is __________________ and I live in _______________, Pennsylvania. My phone number is: ___________. I am a ____________________  <Briefly explain your connection to Pennsylvania (e.g., resident, business owner, student, worker, parent, etc). 

I am calling to voice my support for the Driving PA Forward Coalition and House Bill 769 that would expand access to a Non-Real ID driver’s license to all residents of Pennsylvania, regardless of immigration status. 

HB 769 is essential for Pennsylvania. Here are some benefits of the bill: 

  • It promotes public safety by ensuring all drivers should be properly trained, licensed, and insured, regardless of immigration status.
  • It provides economic benefit and opportunity, granting driver’s licenses to all residents can boost job opportunities and local economies.
  • It builds community trust. Expanding access to driver’s licenses can improve trust between immigrant communities and police.
  • It helps to meet basic needs: Access to driver’s licenses can significantly improve the everyday lives of Pennsylvanians by expanding access to jobs, education and medical care.  

Please support HB 769 which will allow all Pennsylvania residents to obtain driver’s licenses, regardless of immigration status. Neighboring states like New York and New Jersey already have similar laws and I know Pennsylvania is ready to follow their example.

Thank you for your time and consideration.”