Pennsylvania Legislature to Consider Driver’s Licenses for Illegal Aliens

640px-Pennsylvania-counties-mapPennsylvania has become the latest state to consider granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens. House Bill 1648 was introduced in August 2013 by Rep. Mark Cohen (D-Philadelphia). The bill is now being considered by the House Committee on Transportation.

H.B. 1648, if enacted, would make illegal aliens eligible for a Pennsylvania driver’s license. Specifically, the bill would allow applicants to provide an individual taxpayer number (ITIN) on an application for a driver’s license instead of a Social Security number (SSN) to prove identity. Also, if applicants are unable to provide an ITIN, under H.B. 1648, they can provide unspecified documents that prove name, date of birth, and place of birth. The legislation also eliminates the requirement that a non-citizen license expire on the date his or her immigration credentials or documentation expires. Under current law a SSN must be provided along with proof of lawful presence.

H.B. 1648 is bad for Pennsylvania for several reasons. First, H.B. 1648 poses national security risks. As the blue ribbon commission investigating the attacks of 9/11 clearly concluded, the ability of the terrorists to obtain government-issued identity documents facilitated their ability to plan and execute their deadly mission. Consequently, making illegal aliens eligible to obtain driver’s licenses in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania recklessly leaves our nation more vulnerable to terrorist attack.

Second, H.B. 1648 invites various forms of fraud associated with driver’s license application and renewal (not to mention employment, voter registration, and insurance fraud). Look at New Mexico for instance.  New Mexico has provided driver’s licenses to illegal aliens for more than 10 years. During an audit conducted between August 2010 and April 2011, state investigators estimated that as many as 75 percent of foreign national license applications were phonies.

Third, H.B. 1648 does not comply with the federal REAL ID Act of 2005. Unlike other states that have recently granted driving privileges to illegal aliens, H.B. 1648 would, in the words of Rep. Cohen, “allowing undocumented persons to have the same driver’s licenses as do Pennsylvania citizens.” The REAL ID Act sets minimum standards for the issuance of driver’s licenses in the states. Under this law, only state driver’s licenses and identity cards that meet minimum security requirements will be accepted by federal authorities as a valid form of identification for actions such as boarding an airplane or accessing a secure federal building.

Current Pennsylvania law meets the requirements. If HB 1648 is enacted, however, thereby removing the lawful presence requirement to obtain a Pennsylvania driver’s license, no Pennsylvania resident, including U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, will be able to use that document to board an airplane or access a secure federal building once the REAL ID Act is fully implemented by January 1, 2016.

Fourth, H.B. 1648 would harm Pennsylvania by making it easier for illegal aliens to remain unlawfully in the state and drawing in more illegal aliens who desire the state-sponsored benefit. Illegal immigration is a burden to every state and city as low-wage illegal aliens and their dependents strain local services, while depressing job opportunities and wages for others. According to a FAIR study, illegal immigration is already costing Pennsylvania taxpayers $1.37 billion per year.  H.B. 1648 would likely increase those costs.

Lastly, H.B. 1648 insults legal immigrants who followed the law and came here legally. Their time, money, and patience while waiting for approval by the U.S. State Department and Department of Homeland Security would be cheapened by the passage of H.B. 1648.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar
    William Teeter on

    Another Philly pol wanting us to sing kumbaya while we go down the tubes. I think Philly alone has an average of over 1700 anchor babies born to illegal aliens annually. If this bill passes there will be additional deaths on the road due to drunk “licensed” illegals.

  2. avatar

    You Don’t Need to a US Citizen to Enjoy Social Security Benefits

    And a drivers licencing, just work for an unlivable wage in America and you get all the perks curtesy of the American taxpayer.

  3. avatar

    Rupert Murdoch, head of Fox News, just made statements about how “reform” will benefit this country. And as usual, there were the comments from some liberals about “I disagree with him on everything else but not this”. Why? You really think he’s right on this? Because what most of these low watters are unable to grasp is that “reform” is not just amnesty but a plan to flood the country with massive amounts of guest workers.

    Everyone complains about the job market, and we are still around the same net number of jobs we had before the recession, in spite of the fact we should have many more just because of population increases. So why do we need more workers? We don’t. We need to tighten up the labor market so wages will rise for Americans.

    Ann Coulter wrote a column a couple months back in which she poked fun at the commentators on MSNBC for saying Republicans should support reform because business wants it. And Coulter’s comment was, duh, the people who will benefit from more foreign workers are in favor of more foreign workers. Amazing how many people who say they hate people like Murdoch and the Koch brothers are suddenly willing to sip their koolade on the issue of more guest workers. Catch a clue, it will benefit business, not the average worker.

    • avatar

      I believe he is right with a few twists…..Ann Coulter?…….I am sorry but she is really a clown……..