Group doubts NJ Dems have ‘spine’ to OK licenses for the unauthorized
WOODBRIDGE — A group that confronted Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin about a bill that would allow unauthorized immigrants to get a driver's licenses is not convinced he is committed to the issue.
Movimento Cosecha sponsored the march on Coughlin's Woodbridge office on Wednesday to protest the lack of action on the bill despite support from Gov. Phil Murphy, according to InsiderNJ.com.
The bill, A4743, remains in the Assembly Judiciary Committee.
Surrounded by supporters of the measure, a boy named David told Coughlin that licenses are needed because it will allow people to drive to their jobs rather than walk in the rain, snow or cold.
"Nobody is asking for promises anymore. We want those licenses and our parents also. It's so important to us," the 9-year-old said.
An adult at the event asked Coughlin if he would put the bill up for a vote by June 30. Coughlin said he could not commit to doing that. If a budget is signed by the governor, the Legislature will go on vacation in July.
Organizer Carlos Rojas Rodriguez told InsiderNJ that he was glad Coughlin met with the group but it did not sound like it was a priority to him.
“Politically, we are not seeing Democrats having the spine to push this forward," Rodriguez said.
A spokeswoman for Coughlin on Thursday said the Speaker had no further comment.
The "standard license" that’s being proposed would require someone to present either a utility or cell phone bill or an apartment lease to prove he or she resides in New Jersey, but stricter types of identification would not be needed.
Supporters of the license, such as the group Let's Drive NJ, say the law would lower insurance premiums, generate $5- to 10 million in revenue for the state and make the roads safer.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick, R-Union, has concerns about the measure.
"You’re basically giving licenses and identification to people who you’re not sure who they are. How do we prove who they are and why they’re here?" he said.
He said before we start handing out any kind of driver’s license to people who are living in New Jersey illegally, “you want Homeland Security out of Washington to clear any kind of new rule where you’re giving identification to people who are undocumented.”
Bramnick called this driver’s license plan a cop-out.