Faith leaders from diverse faith traditions stood together to make a moral call to New Jersey legislators to expand access to drivers licenses.
TRENTON -Monday, December 10th- Faith leaders from multiple denominations and traditions including Christian, Catholic, and Jewish held a multi-faith prayer in support of expanding access to driver’s licenses this year. After the prayer, many of the religious leaders, dressed in full religious garb, walked to the statehouse to speak with legislators about supporting A4743/S3229 and bringing it to a vote in committee.
A4743/S3229 will create two options for state IDs including drivers licenses for residents in New Jersey. The standard driver’s license option would be accessible to all regardless of status. Faith leaders spoke out in support of the legislation that would allow more to fully participate in society.
“My faith does not leave room for discrimination of any kind, especially a discrimination which takes its cues from nationalist impulses. By allowing more residents to access a driver’s licenses, we are shielding our fellow siblings from hardships of daily living where driving is a necessity. Getting to the doctors, work and school requires being able to drive safely,” said Reverend Carmine A. Pernini of Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rahway. “Creating a standard driver’s license for all qualified residents is a simple solution that will benefit thousands of families and align closer with non-discriminatory practices which are rooted in the Christian faith of loving your neighbor and welcoming the stranger in our midst.”
“For those of us who are privileged, it’s hard to imagine the importance of a driver’s license. For someone brought here by their parents or who fear returning to where they were born, the driver’s license is an affirmation of their identity, a sign that someone knows they matter,” said Ted Fetter, chair of the Immigration Justice Task Force of UU FaithAction New Jersey.
Last week, the bills were referred to the A4743/S3229 K
udiciary committees in the respective houses.
Twelve states and Washington, D.C. have expanded access to driver’s licenses to qualified drivers, regardless of immigration status. New Jersey would become the 13th state to expand access to driver’s licenses in the U.S., following states like California, Utah, Washington, and the District of Columbia which have successfully implemented similar expansions.
The Let’s Drive NJ Campaign is supported by more than 70 diverse array of faith, labor and community organizations from across the state. More information about the campaign can be found at LetsDriveNJ.org.