New Jersey enacts law letting undocumented immigrants get a license

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Undocumented immigrants living in New Jersey are now eligible to get a driver’s license, under a law signed Thursday by Gov. Phil Murphy.

The legislation makes New Jersey the 14th state, along with the District of Columbia, to permit immigrants without legal status to obtain a driver's license.

 

The legislation sets up a two-tiered driver’s license system. One license would conform to federal REAL ID requirements that include proof of legal residency. Another license would permit the undocumented to obtain a license. Both categories of licenses will require individuals to submit six points of identification. But officials did not detail which documents would be used to prove identity.

RELATED: Lawmakers approve bill allowing undocumented immigrants to get licenses 
RELATED: Advocates, Murphy continue push to give driver’s licenses to all, regardless of status 

Driver’s licenses for all New Jersey residents, regardless of legal status, was a major issue for Murphy – one that he campaigned on when he first ran for office. Murphy and supporters of the bill say that allowing undocumented immigrants to be licensed to drive makes New Jersey roads safer.

"Today is a simple recognition that our immigrant communities, and each of you, are a vital part of our state and of our economy. It is an acknowledgment that many of our immigrant residents are already behind the wheel and on our roads, going to work and school, or simply going to the grocery store. And I'm sure some of you, drove here this morning,” Murphy said.

Critics of the law say that driving is a privilege and not a right and those without legal status should not be eligible for the same opportunities.

The licenses for the undocumented immigrants are still at least a year away from being released.

The Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.

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