Advocates push for New Jersey to allow undocumented immigrants to have driver’s licenses

Cyril Josh Barker | 6/20/2019, 11:35 a.m.
As Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, immigration advocates in New Jersey are ...
New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission in Rahway Wikipedia

As Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses, immigration advocates in New Jersey are pushing for a similar bill.

According to the New Jersey Department of Motor Vehicles, only non U.S. citizens who have recently moved to the state and have temporary visa status based on certain categories are eligible to apply for a driver’s license. Undocumented immigrants are not permitted to get driver’s licenses.

Legislators in New Jersey proposed a bill late last year to allow undocumented immigrants to drive. Even with 15,000 signed petitions given to Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin, there has been no action in months over the issue.

“It’s time for New Jersey to expand access to driver’s licenses,” said Make the Road New Jersey leader Olga Armas. “This fight has been waged for more than a decade in New Jersey, and it has never been more urgent.”

Armas added that driver’s licenses would also cut down on arrests by ICE of undocumented immigrants.

A few weeks ago, members of Make the Road NJ were arrested by ICE and separated from their families on a residential street in Elizabeth when they couldn’t present valid ID.

“New Jersey must stand up now to expand access to licenses for immigrants like me and my family,” Arams added. “Our families’ futures are on the line.”