By: Sean M. Guay
HARRISBURG, Pa. — A group is making a push in Pennsylvania to get rid of a restriction that prevents people who aren’t here legally from getting a driver’s license or state identification.
This proposed legislation is controversial due to the potential implications for noncitizens to register to vote.
A similar circumstance exists in New York where a loophole in the law granting illegal immigrants driver’s licenses could lead to voter fraud. The new law granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants will allow hundreds of thousands of people to fraudulently register to vote in New York, according to critics, the state Board of Elections and the bill’s own sponsor.
Members of the Driving PA Forward Coalition said there are 150,000 to 200,000 undocumented Pennsylvanians who could benefit from being allowed to obtain a standard issue state ID or a driver’s license using an individual tax identification number.
According to a report in January, 2019, Pennsylvania officials admit that more than 11,000 noncitizens have already registered to vote due to a glitch in state motor vehicle bureau computers that allowed noncitizens to register to vote easily.
Members of the coalition said driver’s licenses are a state issue, and with no action at the federal level, they’re pressing for change at the State Capitol in Harrisburg, and has more outreach events planned in the coming months. They argue that by allowing undocumented people in Pennsylvania to drive legally it would help them better provide for their families, give them a way to get to and from work and make the roads safer.