Across Party Lines Majority of New Jersey Voters Strongly Support Expanding Access to Drivers Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants in New Jersey
Across party lines, by a nearly 2-1 margin, registered and likely voters in New Jersey support legislation that would expand access to drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, according to a poll released on Monday.
The poll, conducted by Clarity Campaign Labs, surveyed 561 voters across the Garden State and found that 54% of voters support legislation that would ensure undocumented immigrants are licensed to drive, compared to 29% who opposed such legislation. The majority of registered Democrats at 62%, favor the legislation. Moreover, 47% of registered Republicans favor the legislation, whereas only 38% oppose it, a differential of +9 percentage points in support of the bill among Republicans.
Of the voters surveyed, the majority at 80%, were white, followed by 7% black, 7% Hispanic, and, 6% other.
Polling on the issue in other states that have already implemented drivers licenses for all found similar favorability for passing similar legislation including California. In 2013, when California passed legislation making drivers licenses available regardless of immigration status, 53% of registered voters supported the legislation and 43% opposed it.
If the legislation A4743 and S3229 passes, New Jersey would be the 13th state to expand access to drivers licenses, following the likes of California, Utah, Washington, and the District of Columbia which have successfully implemented similar expansions.
“This poll found a majority support for drivers license expansion among likely 2019 voters, which is remarkable given that the electorate in off-year elections tends to be whiter, older, and more conservative than the state as a whole. This is proof that this proposal transcends partisan ideology as voters recognize the value in having every driver on the road trained, tested, and insured,”said Erika J. Nava, Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective. “Legislators should take solace in knowing that expanding access to drivers licenses is not only sound public policy, but also a popular proposal among New Jersey’s electorate.”
“As a DACA recipient, my safety, ability to work, and to drive is always at risk because my status is temporary. As a daughter of undocumented parents, I’m constantly worried for their safety as well because getting pulled over for a menial traffic violation could lead to detention and deportation,” said Esder Chong, Dreamer and DACA-recipient. “As the federal administration works to delegitimize the humanity and value of undocumented immigrants, it’s crucial for our state to work against it by equipping us with necessary tools via drivers licenses.”
New Jersey mayors also strongly support the legislation citing public safety and need of families in their townships to be able to access a driver’s license.
The Let’s Drive NJ Campaign advocates for legislation to expand access to drivers licenses to all qualified residents, regardless of immigration status. The newly proposed bills would expand access to drivers licenses and address numerous privacy concerns with implementing the Real ID Act in New Jersey. The legislation has over 20 sponsors and was introduced by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano and Senator Joseph Vitale.
The Let’s Drive NJ Campaign is supported by a diverse array of faith, labor and community organizations from across the state. More information about the campaign can be found at LetsDriveNJ.org.