There is a push in the state of Pennsylvania to issue licenses to over 160,000 undocumented immigrants. This move is gaining momentum from both parties.
Living conditions for immigrants in Pennsylvania
Some individuals who live in the state with a precarious immigration status will reportedly sleep at their workplaces to avoid run-ins with the police that could lead to deportation. A new legislative bill in Pennsylvania is designed to make changes that will improve their lives, such as allowing immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
Representatives from the state’s Department of Transportation and Department of Agriculture, along with activists, have testified in favor of passing the bill. These departments and activists assert that putting the bill in effect will make the roads safer and give immigrants the chance to live full and productive lives.
Additional benefits and concerns
If this immigration-related bill is passed in Pennsylvania, it will decrease the chances that families will be separated if they are stopped by the police while driving. The state previously offered driver’s licenses to immigrants, but concerns stemming from Sept. 11 led the legislature to make more stringent laws in 2002. Nearby states such as Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey have similar laws, along with 13 other states in the nation.
Some Republicans are opposed to the bill, stating that public safety could be at risk if the bill is passed. However, bill supporters say that offering licenses support human rights. Some Democrats also point out that immigrants have a significant hand in keeping the economy running not only in Pennsylvania but throughout the U.S. Immigrant communities are likely hopeful that the bill will pass to expand their access to driver’s licenses.