Hundreds rally today: Want driver licenses for undocumented
TRENTON — Phil Murphy ran on legalized marijuana and a $15 minimum wage — and neither has happened in his first year as governor.
And group of immigrants rights activists has its eye on another promise from the governor. A bill to allow immigrants in the country illegally to get driver licenses still hasn't made it to the governor's desk, and remains Senate Transportation Committee.
Let's Drive NJ organized a rally at a Trenton church in favor of the bill on Monday morning, before heading to the Statehouse to lobby individual members about voting the bill out of committee.
Hundreds of supporters holding signs and chanted, mostly in Spanish, walked along State Street to the Statehouse
The "standard license" that’s being proposed would require someone to present either a utility or cell phone bill or an apartment lease to prove he or she resides in New Jersey, but stricter types of identification would not be needed.
Supporters of the bill like Harvest Movement of New Jersey, which began a hunger strike in November in support of a vote, say the move is need to support a community ingrained in New Jersey.
Carlos Castañeda, a participant in the hunger strike, said many immigrant families are in need of a driver's license.
"We hope that 11 months of the driver's license campaign will lead legislators to recognize the contribution the immigrant community has made over the years. Our immigrant community is everywhere in every industry in New Jersey. Landscaping, the farms, construction, factories, warehousing," Castañeda said.
He said it would also allow immigrants to "drive without fear," which would help provide them with a better quality life.
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick is skeptical of the plan and thinks a better plan would be for the federal Office of Homeland Security to create a better path to citizenship.
We're jumping ahead of that because the federal government won't really solve this issue, so they want us to create this identification," he said. "It doesn't make any sense to me.”
Bramnick also said it should be a requirement that anyone with a driver's license be able to read street signs in English.