New Jersey may very properly be part of the handful of states which have made their roads safer for all by permitting undocumented immigrants to use for driver’s licenses, following state Senate president Stephen Sweeney’s obvious endorsement. “It might be higher to discover a system,” he stated throughout an interview final week, “that permits somebody to drive in a authorized means that doesn’t hamper our potential to maintain ourselves secure.”
At present, solely 12 states and Washington, D.C., permit undocumented immigrants to use for driver’s licenses, although analysis has proven public security improves when drivers should endure highway assessments and insure their autos with a purpose to share our roads. In California, greater than 1 million undocumented immigrants have utilized for driver’s licenses because of a 2015 regulation. Licenses also can imply a lot extra than simply the power to drive legally.
Undocumented immigrants have been arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after driving with out a license after which getting pulled over by police. In Georgia final yr, Alicia Ortiz-Mojica was arrested with two of her U.S. citizen youngsters sitting within the backseat. Alicia’s household, unable to pay the $12,000 bond set by an immigration choose, arrange an internet fundraiser to lift the wanted cash because the mother languished in detention for months.
Whereas a driver’s license invoice launched within the New Jersey legislature locations some restrictions—“the means the invoice reads now, the driving force’s licenses could possibly be used solely to drive, and to not buy firearms, entry business flights or enter federal buildings”—advocates are supporting it as an essential first step, together with staging a 300-mile march in help. In mild of congressional inaction of immigration reform, native and state actions are the best way to go to guard immigrant communities.
“We’re heartened by Senate President Sweeney’s help of increasing entry to driver’s licenses to immigrant drivers in New Jersey,” stated Janet Caicedo of immigrant rights group Make the Highway New Jersey. “Entry to driver’s licenses protects our households, makes our roads safer and can help our economic system as a whole lot of 1000’s of latest certified drivers receive licenses, purchase vehicles and make insurance coverage funds.”
It’s simply widespread sense, and with Gov. Phil Murphy already having expressed his help for the concept, the state’s undocumented residents may quickly be respiration a bit of simpler.