Tag Archive : Undocumented Immigrants

/ Undocumented Immigrants

The State of New Jersey has become the 14th U.S. jurisdiction to pass a law giving illegal immigrants the right to apply for a driver’s license.

Last Thursday, Governor Phil Murphy signed the new law to formally ratify a legislation which he strongly supported; following suit to similar laws already adopted by the States of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Vermont, including the federal district and U.S. capital, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory.
Governor Murphy reasoned that

“Expanding access to driver’s licenses in order to allow residents to obtain a driver’s license regardless of their status as immigrant, will make the roads safer as it works toward bringing down the number of uninsured drivers and in building a fairer and stronger New jersey for all.

Democratic State Senator of Essex, NJ, Teresa Ruiz, who acted as primary sponsor to the bill said the right extended by the bill is available to undocumented immigrants already living as residents of New Jersey. who are already using the state’s roads and already contributing to the state’s economy as taxpayers.

What the NJ MVC Requires from Illegal Immigrants Applying for a Driver’s License

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The new law adopted a two-tiered driver’s license issuance system. The first tier is in accordance with the federal Real ID Act but which in the case of undocumented immigrants may include foreig documents issued by the country of origin such passports, driver’s license or social security; U.S. birth certificate if applicable, employment authorization, and other documents to show proof that the immigrant is gainfully employed in the state of New Jersey.

After an undocumented immigrant applying for a driver’s license passes the Real ID system, as prerequisite of the driver’s license application, he or she can then apply for a standard driver’s license with the Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC).

As conditions to the approval of the driver’s license application, and regardless of immigration status, an MVC applicant must also take and pass the related tests e.g. drivings test, vision test, sd well as attend driving classes. The license available to undocumented immigrant applicants though, does not include commercial-purpose driver’s license.