Lawmakers approve bill allowing undocumented immigrants to get licenses

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New Jersey lawmakers passed a bill letting immigrants who cannot prove they're in the country legally get driver's licenses.

The Democrat-led Assembly and Senate passed the measure Monday. The bill creates two tiers of licenses – one requires proof of citizenship, the other does not.

“We know this legislation will change thousands of lives in the Garden State. A state with urban, suburban, rural populations that require a car to get from Point A to Point B,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Annette Quijano.

RELATED: Assembly committee advances bill that allows driver’s licenses for immigrants in country illegally 
RELATED: Advocates, Murphy continue push to give driver’s licenses to all, regardless of status 

Some Republicans lawmakers criticized the move.

“I think that the public officials have made it clear that they want this to be a sanctuary state and I think that when you come up with the driver's licenses for illegals, you come up with legal fees for illegals and you come up with college for illegals - I think you're clearly sending a message that it's a good place to come,” said Republican Assemblyman Hal Wirths.

Gov. Phil Murphy has said he supports the legislation and is expected to sign it.

The National Conference of State Legislatures says 13 states and the District of Columbia permit immigrants without legal status to obtain driver's licenses.

A New Jersey think tank estimates that nearly 500,000 residents without documentation are of driving age in New Jersey.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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