In July of 2015, we discussed in our blog a grassroots campaign to pass a law that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers’ licenses and register their vehicles in New Jersey. A nascent version of the legislation was proposed in 2014. That early bill would have allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain driving privilege cards, which are not the same as a conventional driver’s license. That bill failed to be enacted into law. Then, in 2015, NJ Assembly Bill A-4425 proposed providing immigrants with the same licenses as those held by U.S. citizens. However, Governor Christie went on record stating that he would not sign the bill. Democrats continue to push this campaign forward. It is a polarizing issue, but Democrats assert that the bill would generate huge tax revenue for the state.
The bill’s sponsor, Assemblywoman Annette Quijano of Elizabeth, says that the bill would become an economic engine. According to Assemblywoman Quijano, undocumented immigrants currently use our roads, but do not pay for the privilege. She maintains that this bill would result in more car sales throughout the state, an increase in toll usage and an increase in the number of insured and registered vehicles on our roads. Not only would this lead to safer roads, but also an increase in insured drivers could lower insurance premiums statewide.
Nearly a dozen other states have already approved such a measure, including Connecticut, Vermont, Maryland and California. In California, the measure created over 900 new government jobs and brought in over 50 million dollars in new revenue. However, critics assert that these new jobs came at a cost of between 140 million and 220 million dollars to California taxpayers.
Opponents of the bill, including Republican Assemblyman Anthony Bucco Jr., fear that the bill could pose a security threat. Assemblyman Bucco notes that TSA agents could be tasked with discerning between a resident’s driver’s license and a license held by an undocumented immigrant.
Currently, the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission requires six points of identification to obtain a driver’s license, including a birth certificate. This system would not be altered by passage of the bill. Rather, the bill calls for a second hearing for people who don’t have the requisite documentation to prove their identity.
The most recent version of this bill seems to be making strides despite its polarizing nature and Governor Christie’s opposition to the bill’s earlier incarnation. The most recent version of the bill was recently debated in the budget committee room at the Statehouse.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Assist Clients with Questions about Government Identification, Licenses and Registration
The knowledgeable Philadelphia immigration lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. are experienced in resolving all types of immigration issues. Compliance with state and federal laws as an undocumented immigrant can be intimidating, but we are here to assist you with a legal strategy to achieve the best possible outcome. Our offices located in Center City, Philadelphia are easily accessible by public transportation. To speak with a Philadelphia immigration lawyer, call us today at 215-925-4435 or contact us online.