For those on the fence: choose Road Safety over Hateful Rhetoric
Statement from Dr. Patricia Campos Medina on A4743/ S3229 legislative vote
Today, New Jersey can close the legislative year by becoming a more welcoming and fair state.
Eleven months after the minimum wage was passed, the legislature is set to vote on another commonsense policy that would extend driver’s licenses to all qualified New Jersey residents, regardless of status.
If New Jersey passes A4743/ S3229, the state will join 14 states and Washington D.C. in allowing more folks to be trained, licensed, and insured.
After more than a decade of advocacy and grassroots organizing by thousands, we finally witness the legislation that would change the lives of thousands moving forward. Now, legislators have the final say.
They can either do what is right or ignore the fact that many of those who would benefit from this legislation are among us working and driving on our roads.
For those still on the fence about this issue, think about what New York Senator Persaud noted when the New York version of driver’s license bill was being voted this past June: “Those people who you say are the criminals are the people who you invite in to clean your homes and cut your lawns, you are not afraid to pick them up to do work but do not want them to be trained, licensed, and insured?”
This bill doesn’t change these workers immigration status, but it does allow them “to do the right thing” as Senator Diegnan said during the Senate Transportation hearing last Thursday.
What is being proposed is not a new idea. States across the US, including NJ, already allow non-citizens to drive on our roads every day. Some have temporary protected status, others have different categories of immigrant visas, and so forth. Granting a permit to drive to those without status is just an expansion of a service that already exist for non-citizens.
Our immigrant families and our Latino community will be watching carefully and will remember who chooses to stand on the side of justice and progress, and who choose an ideology of hate over commonsense policy.
We are finally moving another step forward with treating all New Jerseyans with dignity and respect.
Let’s make this promise a reality by approving Driver Licenses for All today.
Si Se Puede!
Dr. Patricia Campos Medina is a Labor, Latina and Progressive political leader in NJ. Opinions expressed on this column are her own. Follow her on Twitter @pcamposmedina