Driver's Licenses Campaign


Prior to 2002, residents of Pennsylvania were able to legally obtain a driver’s license with a Tax ID Number, or ITIN, a federally issued identifier used to pay taxes by those who do not have a social security number. In 2009, PennDot cancelled the licenses of tens of thousands of Pennsylvanians who had obtained their licenses legally. There are estimated 150,000 – 200,000 undocumented immigrants in Pennsylvania and MILPA is committed to returning the right to a driver’s license to all families in the keystone state.

Driver's Licenses Help Meet Basic Needs

The right to mobility, to move freely, is inscribed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Many other fundamental needs — to work, to education, and to human dignity — are only accessible via valid identification and adequate transportation. When surveyed, nearly 300 people said that due to lack of a drivers license they have:

  • Taken work with less pay or fewer hours (84%)
  • Had difficulty renting an apartment/house (81%)
  • Taken work with less pay or fewer hours (84%)
  • Had difficulty renting an apartment/house (81%)
  • Children are scared of losing parent from driving without a license (67%)

Pennsylvania Economy

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. Undocumented Pennsylvanians contribute an estimated $139 million in taxes in PA annually.

The first year of enacting proposed legislation could see between $2.76 million to $4.14 million in revenue from licensing fees alone, with a possible $2.36 to $3.54 million in subsequent years -- a number that far outpaces the cost of implementation.

In 2010, the state’s immigrants were over 50 percent more likely to own a business than the overall state average, regardless of immigration status. 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

Public Safety

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.

Proven Effective

Thirteen states (Maryland, Illinois, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Washington, California, Oregon, Delaware, Hawaii) as well as Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia already allow their residents to obtain driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status.