Twelve states and Washington DC already issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants as a matter of public safety. However, in
NJ in an election year in which all 80 seats in the General Assembly are up for grabs, the issue of providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants is still being treated as a touch and go issue. The Quesada Mahmoud campaign stands by this being an absolute human rights issue. There’s an argument to be made about the safety of all New Jerseyans including the 466,000 undocumented immigrants of driving age. NJ Policy Perspective has published figures saying the proposal would bring $9 million in revenue to the state in the form of registration and licensing fees. At a time when the state is in dire need for additional revenue, this legislation could serve as a tangible manner to access those much needed funds for the state.
Furthermore, not taking action to secure legislation A4743 sponsored by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, and state Sen. Joe Vitale, which calls for allowing New Jerseyans to get a “standard” license that would allow that person to then get car insurance and protect them from having ICE target and forcefully eject them from the country for minor offenses has a profound impact on immigrant families. We need to protect families from being separated, which causes immeasurable harm to children. Penalizing immigrants for lacking license privileges is not just a matter of public safety, it is also the kind of financial abuse that impedes on their ability to provide for themselves and their families. This type of license can only be used for lawfully driving a vehicle, so they can’t use it for documentation for anything else like an airport or a federal building.
Yesterday, our opponents Angelica Jimenez and Pedro Mejia had a press conference in North Bergen to announce their recent support of this legislation. The years spent silent on this issue has devastated countless immigrant households. For several years, democrats have been claiming they want to help our undocumented on this important public safety issue but continue to drag their feet while we continue to put NJ drivers at risk and lose out on enormous tax revenue. The democratic party continuously makes promises to the community during election season, but obstruct and lack real political will when the opportunity to act is at hand. The immigrant community is tired of the democratic party standing with them when it is politically convenient and being absent when it comes to action. We find the lack of moral clarity to act is dangerous and reckless to all New Jersey residents. Even on a national level, presidential candidates in the last 15 years have all catered to the immigrant vote promising immigration reform in the first 100 days, but never delivering when they had the chance. Now, under President Trump, we are all witnessing the very painful consequences of that decision.
Immigrants are an important part of our American heritage and over the centuries, we have partially built this great state of New Jersey off of the dreams and aspirations of those born of foreign lands. Over the decades, the United States, through both Democratic and Republican leadership, made it increasingly difficult to have a “path to citizenship”. Today it is increasingly expensive and difficult to become a United States citizen. Quesada and Mahmoud are both sons of immigrant families and wholeheartedly understand the quintessential roadblock that this kind of bill would knock down for so many struggling to achieve the American dream.
Mahmoud Mahmoud and Roger Quesada for NJ General Assembly They are running because they think the people of NJ need working class champions of environmental, social and racial justice in order to thrive. They want to embolden voters to take collective action on the things we all care about through transformational change in government.
published gloucestercitynews.net | April 28, 2019