Thursday July 23: Joint Press Conference at Harrisburg Capitol Building for PA Licenses for All

For interviews and press inquiries
Nicole Kligerman, New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia

Joint Press Conference at Harrisburg Capitol Building:

Legislators, Immigrant Rights Groups Celebrate Introduction of Pennsylvania Bill for
Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants

Who: State representatives supporting legislation, immigrant rights groups
When: Thursday, July 23 from 3:00pm – 3:30pm
Rotunda steps in Pennsylvania Capitol Building, Harrisburg

Harrisburg, PA – On Thursday, July 23, state legislators and immigrant rights groups across Pennsylvania will hold a press conference celebrating the introduction of legislation that would provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants in Pennsylvania. The legislation, House Bill 1450, was introduced by Representative Mark Cohen (D) into the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. on July 10 with 19 legislative co-sponsors.

Pennsylvania is now positioned to become the 13th state to expand driver’s license eligibility to undocumented people. Immigrants from Harrisburg, Chambersburg, York, Reading, Mount Joy, Philadelphia, and Allentown will be present to support the introduction.

“This is another step forward to bring undocumented people onto a path to citizenship. It is my hope that the House and Senate give this proposal the consideration it deserves,” said Representative Cohen.

A farmworker and immigrant from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Esvin Maldonado reflects on his need for a driver’s license. “I live in Franklin County where there is no public transportation, and my work day starts at 2 am. I need a driver’s license for basic things, like working, going grocery shopping, and identifying myself,” he said.

There are approximately 200,000 undocumented people in Pennsylvania who face the consequences of driving without a license and not having a valid form of identification on a daily basis. Such consequences include difficulty getting to work, school, hospitals, and even deportation.

“An enormous goal of the immigrant community is getting a driver’s license,” said Maria Turcios, a Community Organizer at New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia and an immigrant from Honduras who has lived in Pennsylvania for over twenty years. “We’re going to keep fighting until we achieve this goal.”

The Alianza Pro Licencias PA (Alliance for Licenses PA), a coalition of community based groups championing the bill, celebrates the introduction of HB1450 and looks forward to working with the Transportation Committee in the House of Representatives to make sure it reaches the House floor this legislative session.

The Alianza Pro Licencias PA (Alliance for Licenses PA) is: Fight for Driver’s Licenses PA is a grassroots network of immigrants organizing across Pennsylvania for driver’s licenses for undocumented Pennsylvanians. New Sanctuary Movement of Philadelphia is an interfaith, multicultural immigrant justice organization. CASA is an immigrant rights organization that works throughout the East Coast.

The campaign for driver’s licenses for all is endorsed by the following: Philadelphia City Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, Phila. Democratic nominee for City Council At-Large Helen Gym, HIAS Pennsylvania, Indochinese American Council,  Keystone Progress, Grupo de Apoyo e Integración Hispanoamericano , Victim/Witness Services of South Philadelphia, Inc, Casa de la Cultura, Pennsylvania Immigration & Citizenship Coalition (PICC),  Coalition of African Communities in Philadelphia (AFRICOM),  The Aquinas Center, 1 Love Movement,  Friends of Farmworkers, Nationalities Services Center,  Japanese American Citizens League, Migrant Power Movement, Put People First PA, Decarcerate PA, Case San Jose, Erie Benedictines for Peace, Unitarian Universalist Pennsylvania Legislative Advocacy Network (UUPLAN), Carmona Construction and Cleaning Services, La Olanchana Honduran Restaurant,
Mixtequita Poblana Restaurant.

Previous slide
Next slide

Immigrant led Community Organizing

Our staff manages our campaigns and programs while our members join our working committees to inform our programming, choose our campaigns, and plan our strategies to win. Through conversation and listening, our members and the community on the ground are the ones directing the organization. When people reach out to NSM, they connect with someone who speaks their language, looks like them, and is committed to empowering immigrant communities because they understand their journey and struggle. At NSM, our communities see their peers guiding our mission, creating trust, and allowing members to recognize NSM as an immigrant-led organization.
NSM works to lift the skills of the affected community and dismantle systems of oppression while promoting systems of mutual support, collective liberation, and respect for all people, which is why we provide interpretation services, respect childcare needs, schedule our sessions during times that work best for members who work multiple jobs or cannot meet in person, and allow members to inform us about their individual needs before meetings.
The community leads our work at every level to eliminate unnecessary barriers and meet the varied needs of our members.

Leadership Development

Our Leadership Development Program is a step in recruiting and training new leaders and training. The program blends the skills and experiences members bring from their home countries with NSM’s signature faith-rooted and anti-racist organizing model.

We have curricula for each level of membership, which includes workshops on the history of detention, community organizing, nonviolent protest, campaign strategy, and ongoing anti-racism training. Our programming encourages immigrant leaders to find their voice, understand the power of collective resistance, and join a community of immigrant leaders fighting for transformational systemic changes rooted in social and economic justice.

Leading this initiative is Bertha Murcia, one of NSM's Community Organizers. She is an alumna of NSM’s Promotoras de Justicia immigrant leadership program and oversees member engagement.

Build Community Power

NSM’s organizing efforts emphasize community building, inviting people to new roles, deepening Black and Brown solidarity, long-term leadership development, and impactful campaigns.

We build a base of people from our 33 congregations and Accompaniment Team and direct that people-power to fight specific campaigns. Staff members work with immigrant members to choose our campaigns, guide our strategies, lead events, and ensure our work is focused on meeting the needs of Philadelphia’s various immigrant communities.

Having a hands-on role in changing policy allows our members to gain a sense of empowerment, confidence, and self-respect. Empowering immigrants of color to organize collectively is part of NSM’s long haul work to create a people-powered movement for immigrant justice.