Margarita Rodriguez of Passaic took the bus to Trenton on Monday morning — she wanted to be there when the legislators voted on the bill, which would allow her and other immigrants without legal status to obtain a driver’s license.
The Assembly of new Jersey and the Senate adopted the bill with a separate vote on Monday afternoon, sending it to Governor Phil Murphy, who has already said he would sign it, writes NorthJersey. Numerous supporters who filled all available seats around, broke into applause.
Rodriguez could not remember how many times she came to Trenton in the last two years to show their support of the bill.
“We want our representatives know that we are here, that we need it, she said in Spanish. We still have the right to live with dignity and respect. Like everyone else, we work here and pay taxes”.
The bill establishes two types of licences: one complies with the Federal Real ID rules allowing people access to Federal buildings and airplanes, the second is a standard state license that can be used for identification purposes only and driving.
While opponents expressed concern that the bill will lead to fraud by voters, the lawyers presented it as a public safety measure that will allow illegal immigrants to get licenses and car insurance.
“It makes us one step closer to having to provide insurance for all vehicles and drivers, thereby creating safe roads for everyone residents of new Jersey,” said Assembly speaker Craig Coughlin.
Republican senators opposed the bill, saying it provides protection to criminals and immigrants that violate the law.
“We can’t allow new Jersey was the weak link in the security of our country,” said Senator Mike Test.
It is expected that during the first three years, the bill will bring an income of 21 million dollars the fees for the issuance of permits and driving licences.
The person filing the application for obtaining the standard license will need to follow the same system of verification of the identity of the six points, which is currently used by the Commission on motor vehicles, but they will have to submit only one document confirming they live in the state, not two.
This measure includes provisions on the protection of information of immigrants who do not have legal status and receive the standard license. Personal information obtained by automobile Commission, not a governmental record and may be disclosed for purposes of Federal immigration without the person’s consent, a warrant from a judge or other subpoenas or court orders, according to the bill.
New Jersey is home to about 450,000 undocumented immigrants, and about 338 000 people will receive driver’s licence under the bill for the first three years.
These numbers include women with children, such as Rodriguez, who moved from Mexico 18 years ago. Rodriguez works nights at the transport warehouse of the Internet company. According to her, since she can’t get a driver’s license, she can’t go to football matches my son to cheer him up. And public transport and a taxi takes a lot of money.
Since she can’t get a driver’s license, she relies on buses to get to medical facilities, even when the health of her family is at stake. She has to carry a young son with chronic illness in the hospital on the bus that sometimes takes about two hours.
“Driving license is not a luxury but a necessity, Rodriguez said. — This is a huge victory for our community.”