Children Deliver Mother’s Day Cards To Legislators Asking For Their Parents To Be Able To Access A Driver’s License in New Jersey
Dozens of children delivered Mother’s Day cards to legislative offices asking for their parents to be able to drive with a license as advocates call on lawmakers to pass the legislation before they go on summer break on June 30th
New Jersey — On Friday, May 10th, children from across the state delivered handmade cards to legislators in honor of Mother’s Day expressing why they need their parents to be able to drive in New Jersey.
Children are particularly impacted when parents are not able to access a driver’s licenses because it severely restricts the mobility of the family to be able to travel. Currently, 168,000 children in New Jersey have at least one parent who cannot access a driver’s license because of their immigration status. Overall, research shows there are more than 719,000 residents in New Jersey who have trouble accessing a driver’s license, including immigrants without status, low-income individuals, and those who are reentering society after incarceration.
“I want my mom to have her driver’s license. I need to go to the park. I need to go to the school. I need to go to karate. With a driver’s license, my mom can take me,” said Emilio Cruz, 8 years old, with Latin American Legal Defense Education Fund in Trenton.
“If my mom could drive, she could take me to school. When the weather is bad, me and my sister have to wait for the bus in the snow or rain. The water gets in our shoes and backpacks,” said Lisett Espana, 7 years old, with immigrant rights organization Make the Road New Jersey in Passaic.
“For Mother’s Day, I want my mom to have a license so she can bring me to dance class and to school. And so she can come home more earlier to have dinner with us from work without taking the bus,” said Vanessa Naranjo, 9 years old, with Wind of the Spirit in Dover.
“Since I was young, my parents have worked hard to make sure we have our basic needs met but it is made even harder when they have to travel for two hours by walking and taking the bus when they could get to work in 20 minutes with a car. With a license, I will be able to see my mom at home more because she won’t be spending hours commuting,” said Ricardo Trejo, 13 years old, with Faith in New Jersey.
Advocates with the Let’s Drive NJ campaign continue to call for expanded access to driver’s licenses to more qualified residents and are urging New Jersey lawmakers to pass legislation A-4743 and S-3229 before the legislature goes on break on June 30th so that families are not kept waiting any longer.
Parent’s without a license are limited in their capacity to provide and care for their families. Children whose parents don’t have a driver’s license have a difficult time participating in after-school and community activities. This is especially true in areas of the state with limited or no access to public transit.
Additionally, research shows noncitizen women who have a license are more likely to be able to take up part-time work than those without and therefore have more economic independence and contribute to the local economy.
“With a driver’s license, more mothers in New Jersey can be economically independent, have more time to care for their kids, and be more likely to contribute to local economies,” said Erika J. Nava, Policy Analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective.