PennDOT has backed off a plan to yank driver's licenses yesterday from as many as 2,100 people whose state records showed they may not have a valid Social Security number.

Attorneys for immigrants had protested the plan, arguing that PennDOT had given many of their clients licenses in the past without Social Security numbers as long as they had federal tax ID numbers.

PennDOT has tightened its requirements in recent years, and recently ran a computer check of its records against files in the Social Security Administration.

PennDOT sent letters May 29 to 2,100 drivers who appeared not to have valid Social Security numbers, telling them they had until yesterday to clear the issue up or lose their licenses.

After immigration lawyers sent letters of protest, PennDOT agreed to back off the deadline.

"We wanted to allow individuals to more time to gather the required documentation and bring it to a driver's license center," PennDOT spokeswoman Danielle Klinger said yesterday.

Letters sent out Wednesday told the affected drivers that the cancellation of their licenses has been postponed,and that they'll be notified when a new date is established.

Immigration lawyer Jon Landau said he and several colleagues would meet with PennDOT officials Monday to discuss the program.

"This is a very complex issue," Landau said. "For many people, it takes months to get the documentation PennDOT is asking for." *