New Jersey has attempted to take a progressive stance on immigration and issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants. Most states required a lengthy process to prove residence and citizenship through birth certificates, passports, and other forms of identification to obtain a driver’s license.
Governor formally passes the bill after years of effort from interest groups
Governor Murphy signed a law that said immigrants in the state who do not have any kind of formal legal status will still be able to apply for, and receive a driver’s license. Certain activists and interest groups had been working for years to make this change.
Democrats control both the state assembly and house of representatives, and the party was mostly in favor of this measure, despite demonstrations and protests from certain citizens in the state. The licenses would probably not be issued for approximately a year after the legislation passed.
A large group of immigrants assembled in Elizabeth township at Snyder Academy. They had formed a group called “Let’s Drive NJ” that worked for the last two years to help get the measure passed. Murphy made a statement related to the important role that various immigrant groups play in the state’s economy and culture. He further stated that the move was necessary for many people to perform basic activities like work and buy groceries. Most of the state has few mass transportation options. One person interviewed claimed that she spent several hours a week riding buses to get back and forth to work, and that she walked a few miles every time she had a doctor’s appointment.
Many who were pleased about the passage of the bill said that they are not concerned about the additional one year wait. Under the new law, undocumented immigrants, certain senior citizens, and others without formal paperwork will be allowed to obtain a license that can be used for driving only, but not as identification on domestic flights or for other purposes.
The bill did create some controversy, as opponents said that undocumented immigrants are receiving preferential treatment over citizens and issues with voter fraud or fake IDs may become worse.
Why are legal services important for those dealing with immigration issues?
It is always helpful to get advice from an attorney whenever laws change that can affect a person’s immigration status or the procedures to get important documents such as driver’s licenses. An experienced lawyer who practices in the field of immigration can provide guidance that will help an applicant stay within the bounds of the law and avoid problems later.
Learn more about immigration law
To get help from an immigration lawyer who works in the Jersey City area, contact The Law Office of Eric M. Mark. You will receive professional advice related to any issues affecting your immigration status.