The Push To Give Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants
The group New Jersey Policy Perspective has released a new report that calls on the state legislature to pass a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses.
The report, Share the Road: Allowing Eligible Undocumented Residents Access to Driver's Licenses Makes Sense for New Jersey, states that letting the undocumented drive legally would make New Jersey's roads safer by reducing the number of uninsured motorists. It would also generate economic benefits for the state and help to strengthen families that are in New Jersey illegally, according to the report.
It's estimated that more than 500,000 undocumented immigrants currently call New Jersey home.
"New Jersey's motor vehicle offices should not be in the business of immigrant enforcement and the right to drive a car should not be conditioned on a person's immigration status," said Udi Ofer, the executive director of the ACLU of New Jersey.
He said when undocumented immigrants can't get a driver's license, it causes them "to have to make daily decisions about either failing to meet their basic needs such as buying food, going to the doctor's office or dropping off kids in school, or driving without a license and risking arrest."
Ofer also said granting driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants will bring hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans out of the shadows and integrated into our state. He believes this will benefit all New Jerseyans and build trust between local law enforcement and undocumented immigrants.
"Immigrant communities are critical to the functioning and vitality of New Jersey," Ofer said. "It's vital that a drivers license made available to undocumented immigrants be similar to the one that U.S. citizens get. Anything less would create a separate and unequal two-tiered system that could subject immigrant communities to discrimination. Separately marked licenses invite discrimination and undermine civil rights."