Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill that gives immigrants without a formal legal status the ability to obtain a driver’s license in the state of New Jersey, making it the 14th state to do so, including the District of Columbia. This new law allows for two distinct types of licenses. The first type is compliant with the Real ID Act, and allows individuals to board an airplane, enter a federal facility, or enter nuclear power plants. The other license is a simple driver’s license, which allows anyone, regardless of their legal status, the ability to drive.
The law is effective on January 1, 2021. However, it is possible that individuals will receive their driver’s license before this date. Illegal immigrants looking to apply for a driver’s license must provide some information, including proof of identity, age, and their residence in New Jersey. There are other documents they must provide for the license; however, these are still undetermined.
What Critics Have to Say
Many immigrants are excited about the law; however, other individuals have concerns. One concern is how the law could affect voter registration. More specifically, many individuals are worried about voter fraud. However, many believe that this concern is unnecessary. A chief administrator of the Motor Vehicle Commission claims that there is not one documented case of a non-citizen resident voting in New Jersey, despite the distribution of over 50,000 IDs to non-citizens in the past year.
Despite these concerns, those in favor of the bill claim that it benefits the state. Many believe that this law can help the economy due to an influx of individuals purchasing cars, gas, and driver’s insurance. Others claim that the law promotes public safety because many illegal immigrants are already driving, despite not having insurance or a driver’s license. Having both a driver’s license and insurance prevents an individual from leaving the scene of a car accident.
Similarly, those with a driver’s license in New Jersey must first take a test, which evaluates the individual’s driving performance. It also determines whether the driver knows the traffic laws and signs. To obtain a license, the individual will likely receive training and must ultimately pass these portions of the test. This allows for safer roads for both citizens and non-citizens.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Advocate for Clients with Immigration Concerns
If you or a loved one needs assistance with immigration matters, contact a Philadelphia immigration lawyer at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Our lawyers help clients with legal matters pertaining to the immigration process. If you are interested in speaking to an immigration lawyer, contact us online or call us at 215-925-4435 for an initial consultation. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients throughout Pennsylvania and nationwide.