A New Call for Immigrants Here Illegally to Get NJ Driver Licenses
A new report calls for giving driver licenses to New Jersey and New York residents living in the country illegally.
The report released by the Center for Popular Democracy, "Safe Roads Across the Tri-State Area: The Case for Expanding Access to Driver’s Licenses in New York and New Jersey," argues allowing such licenses would not only ensure safer roads for everyone, it would also boost state revenues, help provide more opportunities for immigrants looking for work and help keep immigrant families together.
Legislation that would allow licenses to be awarded to immigrants who could present a cell phone or utility bill is currently being crafted, but some lawmakers don’t believe this is a good idea.
Republican Assembly Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, told New Jersey he's concerned immigrants could use driver licenses as identification even without providing hard documentation.
“Homeland Security in Washington should be dealing with this issue, not New Jersey and not individual states," Bramnick said.
He said the federal government must enact a sensible policy that allows immigrants to become U.S. citizens following a clear and reasonable formula.
In the meantime, Bramnick said, having immigrants here illegally subject to less stringent requirements than the 6 points of ID typically required for a New Jersey license doesn’t make sense.
“I’m deeply concerned that someone with a cell phone bill is going to now have a New Jersey driver’s license while the average citizen has to go through hoops, with incredible information requirements to show who they are," Bramnick said.
He said it's a security issue as well.
"You'll have inconsistent policies between the states, and you’ll have people with identification, and we’re not sure actually who they are.”
The report says New Jersey Policy Perspective estimates about 222,000 unauthorized immigrants would be expected to apply for this type of driver license within the first three years of implementation, and this would raise at least $90 million in annual revenue for the Garden State.