Murphy Signs Law Allowing Undocumented Immigrants To Get Driver's Licenses

WCBS 880 Newsroom
December 19, 2019 - 12:20 pm
Governor Phil Murphy

Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com

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TRENTON, N.J. (WCBS 880) — Gov. Murphy on Thursday morning signed a law allowing undocumented immigrants the opportunity to obtain a driver’s license in the state.

The law was approved by the state Legislature on Monday.

“Three years ago, when I was campaigning for this office, I said that if I was elected governor, I would sign a law that allowed every New Jersey resident, regardless of immigration status, the ability to obtain a driver’s license,” Murphy said. “It may have taken a little longer than we had hoped, but today, I am proud to fulfill this promise to you.”

New Jersey joins 13 states, including New York, and the District of Columbia in allowing immigrants without legal status to obtain driver’s licenses.

While some who oppose the idea worry that the law will lead to an increase in accidents or uninsured drivers, Murphy says statistics show just the opposite has happened in other states.

“The only thing these states have seen, is a dramatic increase in the number of licensed and insured drivers and in the number of residents able to contribute to the economy,” the governor said.

The state will now have two types of identification cards, one is a real ID that will be federally compliant and can be used to board planes for travel and the other will be a standard version that can be used for driving and identification.

That second one is the one undocumented immigrants will be able to apply for, which allows the use of foreign passports or driver’s licenses to apply instead of a Social Security number.

The law will go into effect in January 2021.

Murphy says when it does, “our roads will be safer and our ranks of uninsured drivers will be lower – and that’s good for all of us.”

New York's law went into effect last week. On Monday, hundreds of New Yorkers lined up outside Department of Motor Vehicle offices throughout the state to apply.