© 2023 WBGO
WBGO New Record Spine Header
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Statehouse Rally In Support Of Driver's Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

advocates rally outside New Jersey Statehouse

Hundreds of New Jersey residents rallied outside the Statehouse in Trenton urging lawmakers to pass a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to get a driver’s license.

Johanna Calle, the director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, says it’s frustrating that the legislature has not acted on the measure.

“With the Trump administration really attacking our communities, what they have been doing now, we’re seeing a lot of families separated because of the lack of drivers licenses. Sometimes a minor traffic stop can end up in a deportation. So we really need to make sure that this passes.”

Lakewood resident Reina Axalco came to the U.S. from Mexico 14 years ago. She now takes a bus or a taxi to make needed trips and hopes she’ll be able to get a license.

“I need it for my kids, for school, for work. When my baby is sick I have to take her to the doctor and if I don’t have a license I cannot drive as soon as possible that she needs.”

Advocates say the legislation would help prevent people from driving illegally without a license and make the roads safer.

New Jersey Policy Perspective president Gordon MacInnes says it would also have economic benefits for the state.

“You get over time 450,000 people paying fees to get their driver’s licenses. They have to have auto insurance. You get settlements instead of having a fund that cares of the costs of accidents where nobody was insured.”

There’s no indication when lawmakers might act on the bill.