Republicans push back as new bill could allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses in Pennsylvania

12 April 2024- Rep. Ryan Mackenzie (R-Lehigh) issued the following statement regarding legislation introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives that would allow an immigrant in the country illegally to obtain a driver’s license. House Bill 769 is currently under committee review.

“A driver’s license is one of the privileges of being an American citizen, but this bill would also grant that same privilege to those who enter the country illegally, which is simply wrong. I am strongly opposed to the legislation for many reasons.

“Granting driver’s licenses to individuals without citizenship status would only encourage illegal immigration by providing another incentive for coming here. It would also seem to legitimize a person’s illegal presence in Pennsylvania and serve to sanction the unlawful practice of illegal immigration.

“I also have public safety concerns the bill would create. There are national security implications because a person in the country illegally could use the license to board a plane. A state-issued identification may fuel terrorist efforts and allow illegal immigrants to move around our nation more easily as they would be more difficult to track. Does the state have adequate measures in place to verify foreign documents used to confirm an applicant’s identity when applying for a driver’s license?

“Currently, when an individual here illegally is pulled over and caught driving without a license, they should be turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE). Under this legislation, that safeguard would be taken away, resulting in fewer deportations.

“Finally, there is also the troubling issue of how this bill would impact our elections. Since last fall, voter registration is now automatic in Pennsylvania for individuals who apply or renew a driver’s license, which means immigrants in the country illegally would be voting in our elections if this bill becomes law. How does that make any sense at all?

“I have introduced legislation that does the exact opposite by prohibiting noncitizens from voting in state elections. It’s part of a six-bill package that also includes proposals that would require E-Verify for all public contracts, mandate an instant check system for firearm purchases to verify immigration status, protect vulnerable children from labor exploitation, end sanctuary cities, and improve accuracy of voter registration records.

“We need to reject proposals like House Bill 769 and do more in Pennsylvania to prevent the problems being created by the federal government’s failed immigration policy, which is allowing hundreds of thousands of people to enter the U.S. illegally every month, and millions annually.”