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House of Representatives
Session of 2013 - 2014 Regular Session


Posted: June 25, 2013 04:45 PM
From: Representative Mark B. Cohen
To: All House members
Subject: Drivers Licenses for Undocumented Pennsylvanians

Pennsylvania, like many other states, has many thousands of undocumented residents who are in the shadows of Pennsylvania life, picking apples, working in restaurants, studying in classrooms, cleaning houses, etc. Some entered our country illegally; others entered legally but stayed past their allotted time; still others entered legally but never completed the required paperwork; many were brought here as minors by their parents; many have been here for decades.

Any undocumented person can become an American citizen by marrying an American citizen in a bona fide marriage and staying married for at least one year. The American Dream Act legislation that is likely to become federal law in this legislative session will create various other pathways to American citizenship.

While we are waiting for the federal government to act, undocumented persons remain an easily exploitable, isolated and marginalized workforce. It is not in the public interest for people to be living outside the law, being deprived of access to healthcare and transportation, being kept outside of the economic mainstream.

I am introducing legislation allowing undocumented persons to have the same driver’s licenses as do Pennsylvania citizens. It will allow valid Social Security numbers to be used as identification and a qualification for driver’s licenses where either citizenship or legal resident status is not available. A group of immigrant activists has recommended this legislation. They are seeking to restore Pennsylvania law to the way Pennsylvania law was throughout the 20th century. In today’s world driver’s licenses mean access to food, healthcare and banking and full economic participation in American life.

This legislation is currently backed by the Nationalities Service Center, Pennsylvania Immigration and Citizenship Coalition, DreamActivistPA and the Media Mobilizing Project, among others.

If you have any questions about this legislation, please contact Kathy Seidl of my office at 7-4117 or kseidl@pahouse.net.

Thank you

Introduced as HB1648