Burgos Hears on Licenses for Undocumented Drivers

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STATE REP. Danilo Burgos

State Rep. Danilo Burgos (D-Kensington) on Tuesday chaired a public hearing on legislation he introduced, H.B. 2835, that would extend the privilege to obtain a driver’s license to undocumented Pennsylvanians.

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The hearing featured testimony from advocates, policy experts and undocumented residents about the importance of his legislation to Pennsylvania’s economy and workforce.

“Throughout this pandemic, countless undocumented Pennsylvanians have sacrificed their lives, and the lives of their families, filling the role of essential workers to ensure communities across the commonwealth aren’t without critical supplies,” Burgos said. “We express our gratitude for their labor during this time, but it falls flat when we fail to make them feel like esteemed members of our community. My legislation would provide them — our neighbors — with the safety and the dignity they deserve.

“From an economic perspective, the revenue generated from application costs to PennDOT and purchases on car-insurance policies would greatly benefit Pennsylvania’s economy — a much needed relief as our economy struggles to gain stability during this crisis,” he said.

Burgos’ legislation would allow people without a Social Security number to apply for a driver’s license or learner’s permit using secure alternatives such as a federal taxpayer identification number, a federal waiver for non-issuance of a Social Security number for religious reasons, or any combination of documents that reliably proves the applicant’s name and date of birth, including a valid foreign passport, consular identification document, or certified record of the individual’s birth, marriage, adoption or divorce.

If signed into law, Pennsylvania would join 17 states, including neighboring Delaware, to allow undocumented residents to legally obtain a driver’s license.
Testifiers at the hearing included:
• Luis Larin, statewide coordinator, Driving PA Forward Coalition.
• Desi Burnette, statewide coordinator, Movement of Immigrant Leaders PA.
• Olga Velasquez, member, Casa San Jose (Pittsburgh).
• Dewa Sukma, member, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.
• Diana Polson, policy analyst, Pennsylvania Budget & Policy Center.
• Justina Almontes, member, CATA-the Farmworker Support Committee.
• Guillermo Perez, president, LCLAA Pittsburgh.
• Casey Stokes, social worker, John Harris High School.
• Karen Gardner, policy associate, National Young Farmers Coalition-PA Chapter.
• Muneeba Talukder, immigrants’-rights legal fellow, ACLU Pennsylvania.
• Julissa Morales, member, Movement of Immigrant Leaders PA.
• Caitlin Barry, director, Villanova University’s Farmworker Legal Aid Clinic

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