Advocates Celebrate Historic Passage of Legislation That Allows Driver’s Licenses For All New Jerseyans
Legislation A-4743 & S-3229 passed through the New Jersey Assembly and Senate Houses.
NEW JERSEY (Monday, December 16th, 2019) Today, legislation A-4743 & S-3229 that would expand access to driver’s license to more residents, regardless of immigration status, in New Jersey passed both Senate and Assembly floor votes.
More than 719,000 residents are expected to benefit after the bill is implemented in New Jersey including residents without immigrant status, those who are formerly incarcerated, survivors of domestic violence as well as U.S. Citizens who would like an alternative option to the REAL ID license.
Johanna Calle, Director of New Jersey Alliance For Immigrant Justice said,
“This is a historic day for immigrant rights in New Jersey. a landmark day for New Jersey residents who have lived without access to a license or state ID card. A driver’s license is so much more than a driver’s license, it is a basic form of identification which shows that we are a part of this state and our communities. It brings immigrants out of the shadows. It means that every one of us, regardless of immigration status, belongs. Today, I am prouder than ever to call myself a New Jerseyan as families, including my own, breath a sigh of relief.”
Karol Ruiz, Co-President of Wind of the Spirit, said,
Immigrant parents and youth throughout the state have been fighting for access to driver’s licenses for over 16 years in New Jersey. Discrimination against us, against those who are homeless, and against those returning from prison must end today. Wind of the Spirit applauds every legislator who voted to pass this today.
Erika Nava, Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) said,
New Jersey just took a huge step towards making roads safer and the economy stronger for all residents.” The research is clear that driver’s license expansion has widespread benefits as more residents are properly trained, tested, and insured before they hit the road. This policy should help stabilize auto insurance premiums while also boosting local communities across the state as more families can get where they need to go.”
Eufracia Mora, Faith in New Jersey, board member Faith in Camden
“This fight has been a very long road, full of momentary stumbles, disappointments, sacrifices, and tears of hopelessness. The decision seemed to be in the hands of people who put political interests before the needs of my community over the years. Yet, despite this path of thorns, I never lost the faith that made today a reality. Along the way, I met and worked with great leaders. Many are people that have no self-interest in this bill, but gave support as we worked together shoulder to shoulder. In such examples, I learned what it means to love thy neighbor.”
Alejandra Sorto, ACLU-NJ Campaign Strategist said,
“This legislation is a landmark change in the name of safety and equality, and it will broaden opportunities for all people to participate in their communities and live their lives. Thank you to the activists, the advocates, the community leaders, and the fearless New Jerseyans who have worked tirelessly for years to make sure the Garden State is a fairer, safer place for all.”
Adriana Abizadeh, LALDEF Executive Director said,
From the ground up. We built collaborations and support for this bill, from the ground up. That is what this campaign has done by uniting us across faiths, across social services areas, and across districts. This new law provides access to a necessary privilege in NJ; the ability to commute freely without fear. This day will go down in history, as we become the 15th state to win! To win for our state, to win for our communities, to win for our neighbors. ¡Lo hicimos!
Chia-Chia Wang, Organizing and Advocacy Director, American Friends Service Committee Immigrant Rights Program said,
“It is a historical moment for immigrants and citizens in New Jersey. The passage of driver’s licenses for all legislation is a testament for New Jersey to truly become a fair and welcoming place for immigrants. People who can prove their identity and ability to drive should be able to apply for a driver’s license. Driver’s license access will reduce the exploitation of workers and hardship facing immigrants. When they don’t have access to driver’s license including potential detention and deportation. We are thrilled to be part of this key moment for immigrant justice.”
Kevin Brown, 32BJ SEIU Vice President and New Jersey District Director:
“We are very proud for NJ to be the 15th state to expand access to drivers licenses, ensuring a safer, stronger New Jersey for us all. From immigrants to senior citizens, survivors of domestic violence, trans and gender-nonconforming people and homeless individuals; this bill will allow hardworking people in our state to drive to work, get their children to school, visit a doctor, go to church and go to buy groceries without fear or struggle.”
The Let’s Drive NJ campaign has led the effort with rigorous campaigning with over 30 rallies, marches, and protests, and meeting with legislators to ensure the legislation would enhance mobility, includes all residents, and protects privacy, the legislation is coming to a historic floor vote in New Jersey.
Dr. Troy R. Mack, VFAI-NY/NJ said,
“Veterans throughout the Garden State advocated for this legislation because, very simply, it remains the right thing to do. Members of Veterans for American Ideals once swore oaths to defend a Constitution that defines itself by its aspiration to form a more perfect Union. To do so, to love the rule of law, is to love the pursuit of good law, as well as to pursue in each generation enactment of the same. Now was the time, this was the moment, to pass driver’s licenses legislation for New Jersey’s families. Our veterans are grateful for the passage of this good, sensible law which further secures our common home.”
If passed, New Jersey will become the 15th state to expand access to driver’s licenses to all following New York and Oregon who passed similar legislation in Summer 2019. See the updated map of states that have expanded access to driving from NILC.The legislation is expected to be signed by Governor Murphy.