Driving is such an essential part of basic mobility that most of us take it for granted. Many of us see no risk in simply getting in our cars and driving to a doctor’s appointment or to pick up groceries for our families. The right to free mobility, however, is not afforded to our undocumented immigrant population. In Pennsylvania, proof of legal residency is required for a driver’s license.
This policy is problematic in multiple ways. First, it makes it difficult for immigrant families to freely navigate their day-to-day activities and chores, secure employment, and provide for their families. Second, it hurts our state’s economy by making it difficult for undocumented immigrants to fill jobs for which they have the appropriate skills that might otherwise go unfilled. The undocumented immigrant population makes an important contribution to our economy and could make an even greater one if these residents were allowed access to driver’s licenses. Third, allowing undocumented immigrants to secure driver’s licenses would lead to safer streets and more insured drivers, which would reduce auto insurance costs. Finally, expanding access to driver’s licenses would not only be free for the state, but it would lead to increased state revenue from both sales taxes on auto-related purchases and driver’s license processing fees.