Resolution Opposing Pennsylvania Senate Bill No. 9, Printer's No. 763

WHEREAS, Pennsylvania Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), would require all Pennsylvanians to provide particular government-issued ID documents and execute a signed affidavit that they are U.S. citizens or lawfully present immigrants in order to receive benefits or licenses from any state agency or from any private agency using state funds;

WHEREAS, SB 9 is intended to prevent undocumented immigrants from receiving "public benefits" even though they are already barred from all major public benefit programs in Pennsylvania, including cash welfare, food stamps, full-scope medical assistance, disability benefits, unemployment insurance benefits and subsidized housing;

WHEREAS, U.S. citizens and eligible legal immigrants would bear the brunt of this law, including senior citizens required to apply for a government-issued ID before they could be admitted to nursing homes; newly-unemployed families who would have trouble applying for Unemployment Compensation; and disabled children and adults temporarily unable to work who would find it more difficult to get necessary medical treatment;

WHEREAS, the Brennan Center for Justice study in November 2006 found that 11% of all U.S. citizens do not have government-issued ID and more significantly:

  • 15% of citizens earning less than $35,000 per year lack government-issued ID;
  • 18% of citizens aged 65 or above lack government-issued ID; and
  • 25% of adult African-American citizens lack government-issued ID; and

WHEREAS, SB 9 arbitrarily and unreasonably limits the categories of documents which would verify the identity of a person in Pennsylvania, fails to incorporate due process provisions needed to contest denials of eligibility, and fails to conform to federal law governing administration of public benefits.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association opposes enactment of Senate Bill No. 9, Printer’s No. 763 as well as any similar legislation.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor or his/her designee are authorized to take whatever steps are deemed necessary to communicate the views of the Philadelphia Bar Association to the appropriate members of the General Assembly and to the Governor and to otherwise effectuate this resolution.