Immigrants, Clergy Send Message to PA House Transportation Committee Chairs Reps. Taylor and Keller:
“It’s time for the driver’s licenses for all in Pennsylvania, regardless of immigration status!”
Nicole Kligerman, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
[email protected] – @nsmphilly
|WHAT||State-wide day in support of driver’s licenses for undocumented Pennsylvanians|
|Philadelphia vigil: 4PM, 2901 E. Thompson St, Philadelphia, Office of Representative John Taylor
Harrisburg vigil: 3PM – 7PM, State Capitol steps
York vigil: 6PM, Intersection of Market St. and S. George St
Reading vigil: 4PM, St. Peter’s Church, 322 S. 5th St, Reading
-Blanca Pacheco, Community Organizer at New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia
-Rabbi Linda Holtzman, Tikkun Olam Chavurah
-Gerardo Flores, New Sanctuary Movement member
-Maria Juarez, Fight for Driver’s Licenses PA member
|WHY||Immigrants and clergy vigil across Pennsylvania to obtain support legislation for driver’s licenses for immigrants from the Chairs of the House Transportation Committee, State Representatives John Taylor (R) and William Keller (D)|
Philadelphia—On Thursday, June 18, immigrants, clergy, and citizens hold vigils across Pennsylvania in support of legislation that would provide driver’s licenses for undocumented Pennsylvanians. The vigils ask the Chair and Democrat Chair of the House Transportation Committee, State Representatives John Taylor (R) and William Keller (D) for support in moving the legislation forward. Both representatives serve Philadelphia in the Pennsylvania House and have declined to meet with participation organizations about the legislation. .
The vigils pressure for critical driver’s license legislation to keep immigrant families safer from deportation, improve safety on the roads, and support Pennsylvania’s economy.
Participants will give Representatives Taylor and Keller over 2,700 support letters from Pennsylvania people of faith and 220 support letters from Pennsylvania clergy. The vigil is part of a state-wide day of action, a coordinated effort between Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, York, Chambersburg, and Reading.
“With a driver’s license, I could expand my business selling food and employ others. I go out onto the streets with my grandchildren, and I need to carry an ID to keep us all safe,” says Gerardo Flores, a Mexican immigrant and member of New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia.
There are currently 20 legislative co-sponsors in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and legislation will be re-introduced this month. Eleven states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico already give driver’s licenses to undocumented people. New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia and Fight for Driver’s Licenses PA are organizing across the state to make Pennsylvania the twelfth state to provide driver’s licenses.
“My congregants are mostly undocumented and work like any other human being. They buy groceries, go shopping, visit friends and family and go to the church. But they don’t have the liberty going to those places by car. The solution to this problem will be opening the possibility so immigrants are able to obtain an unmarked driver’s license,” says Pastor Aldo Siahaan, pastor at the Philadelphia Praise Center, a Mennonite Church in South Philadelphia serving Indonesians, Burmese, Vietnamese and Latino immigrants. Pastor Siahaan is one of 215 clergy who wrote open letters in support of driver’s licenses for all.
New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia is an interfaith, multicultural immigrant justice organization. Fight for Driver’s Licenses PA is a grassroots network of immigrants organizing across Pennsylvania for driver’s licenses for undocumented Pennsylvanians.