Over 15,000 Petition Signatures in Support of Legislation to Expand Access to Drivers Licenses Delivered to Assembly Speaker Coughlin’s In-District Office
Impacted community members and supporters held a rally outside the office calling on the Speaker to post bill A4743 to expand access to driver’s licenses for a vote.
Woodbridge - On Thursday, February 28th, impacted residents who cannot get access to a driver’s licenses in New Jersey, joined by supporters delivered more than 15,000 petition signatures in support of expanding access to drivers licenses to all residents regardless of status at Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin’s in-district office in Woodbridge.
New data released today by New Jersey Policy Perspective finds the economic security of New Jersey’s low-income families is significantly impacted by access to a driver’s license. Specifically, expanding access to driver’s licenses this year could help more than 719,000 NJ residents who make less than $25,000 a year, the re-entry population, and undocumented immigrants. Further, the data shows, boost the state’s economy to 9 million for the first three years a much-needed revenue increase for the state’s budget.
Erika Nava, Policy Analyst, New Jersey Policy Perspective said,
"Driver's license expansion is not a new idea and has been proven effective across the nation. Similar laws exist in 12 states — from deep blue California to dark red Utah — and the data shows that their roads are safer as a result, as more drivers are trained, tested, and insured. In New Jersey, 647,000 people would gain the right to legally drive under the proposed bill and NJPP estimates upwards of 300,000 residents would get licensed within three years. Expanding access to driver's licenses is not only the right thing to do for our immigrant neighbors, but it's also a smart policy decision that will benefit everyone in the state."
Data show the majority of 2019 likely voters, across party lines, favor legislation that would expand access to drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants with 54% in favor and only 29% opposing.
This is following support from New Jersey mayors and over 150 small businesses who agree that expanding access to drivers licenses will not only benefit their local economies but also bring much need revenue to the state via license and registration fees. Access to a standard driver’s licenses will also protect immigrant families from the risk of detention and deportations. It is estimated more than 719,000 residents will benefit from the expansion.
Christian Estevez, President of Latino Action Network said,
“Access to licenses is critically important to Latino working families that need them to drive to go to work and pick up their kids up from school. Our community has been waiting too long for this. We urge Assembly Speaker Coughlin to act quickly.”
Desiree Armas, Make the Road New Jersey member and college student said,
“As a DACA recipient I face uncertainty about my future every day, and that includes whether I will be able to have a driver’s license if DACA ends. I’ve lived in New Jersey with my family for as long as I can remember. I drive to college every day, to my job and to help my younger siblings, who were born here, get to after-school activities. I’m the only person in my family with a license. If I lose my status, my family will have no one to drive us in bad weather, to the doctor and to school. I urge Speaker Coughlin to take immediate action to bring the drivers license bill for a vote. My family can’t wait.”
Andrea Lopez, Member of Wind of the Spirit said,
“I want to do things the right way. I don’t want to continue living in fear of the men and women meant to protect our communities. My daughter is traumatized since the time we were stopped and the police made me get out of the car. We were lucky that time. I only had to pay a fine, but nothing guarantees that we will be next time. Some people who are stopped end up deported or detained.”
Kevin Brown, 32BJ SEIU Vice President and NJ District Director said,
“This legislation will allow NJ workers and their families to continue going about their daily routines without disruption. We cannot strand a strong component of New Jersey’s workforce and make it impossible for them to contribute. Not only would it be a moral stain on our state, but the impact would be felt across all families in New Jersey. This is an urgent issue that I hope will become a priority to lawmakers in the state.”
ACLU-NJ Executive Director Amol Sinha said,
“New Jerseyans need a basic license that is available to all safe, insured drivers, and that protects our privacy. Every day that passes without a commonsense solution for people who need driver’s licenses and IDs, more families are put at risk.”
Residents who are most impacted include undocumented immigrants, survivors of violence, formerly incarcerated, transgender and gender nonconforming, homeless and low-income individuals, and immigrants with insecure status such as DACA recipients and TPS holders.
The broad support for the effort is expected to continue building with legislation introduced in November, A4743/S3229, that will create a license with stringent requirements for federal REAL ID purposes, and expand access to standard drivers licenses to more residents which could for driving and identification purposes.
Twelve states and Washington, D.C. have expanded access to driver’s licenses to qualified drivers, regardless of immigration status, with similar measures.
New Jersey could 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. More information about the campaign can be found at www.LetsDriveNJ.org
The full list of partner organizations is below.
Action Together NJ
American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
American Friends Service Committee
Angel for Action Inc.
Anti-Poverty Network of New Jersey
Bangladeshi American Women’s Development Initiative (BAWDI)
Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation
Blue Wave NJ
CAIR-New Jersey – Council on American-Islamic Relations
Catholic Charities Diocese of Metuchen
Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark
Central Jersey Coalition Against Endless War
Central Jersey Democratic Socialists
Central Unitarian Church of Paramus - Social Action Committee
Centro Comunitario CEUS
Community of Friends in Action
Drug Policy Alliance
El Centro Hispanoamericano
Fair & Welcoming Coalition of Mercer County
Fair and Welcoming Communities Coalition of Somerset County
Faith in New Jersey
First Friends NJ & NY
Force the Issue NJ
Garden State Equality
Glen Rock People Power
Greater Red Bank Women’s Initiative
Haiti Solidarity Network of the North East
Hispanic Family Center of Southern New Jersey
Hudson Civic Action
Ironbound Community Corp.
Kids in Need of Defense (KIND)
Latin American Legal Defense & Education Fund (LALDEF)
Latino Action Network
Laundry, Distribution & Food Service Joint Board, Workers United/SEIU
Long Valley Indivisible
Make the Road New Jersey
Morristown Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
NAACP New Jersey State Conference
National Council of Jewish Women, West Morris Section
National Organization of Women (NOW) – NJ
New Jersey Citizen Action
New Jersey Communities United
New Jersey Institute of Social Justice
New Jersey Muslim Lawyers Association (NJMLA)
New Jersey Policy Perspective
New Jersey Tenants Organization
New Jersey Working Families Alliance
NJ-08 for Progress
Not in Our Town Princeton (NiOT)
Partners for Women and Justice
People Power Somerset NJ
Planned Parenthood Action Fund of New Jersey
Reform Jewish Voice of New Jersey
Salvation and Social Justice
South Jersey Women for Progressive Change
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network, Inc.
Temple Ner Tamid
The Farmworker Support Committee (CATA)
The Meta Theatre Company
The Social Responsibilities Council of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood
Union County Young Democrats
Unitarian Society of Ridgewood
United Steelworkers District 4
UU Faith Action NJ
Veterans for American Ideals
Wind of the Spirit