Calling on NJ Filipinos to Join the Push for Driver’s License for all – The Filipino Express

Salamat The Filipino Express for publishing our op-ed with the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice regarding our push for the Driver’s License for All in New Jersey.

“A survey done by the Filipino Immigrants & Workers Organizing Project in Jersey City, the area with the largest concentration of Filipinos in the state, found that 9 out of 10 Filipinos in the area agree with allowing undocumented immigrants the privilege to drive. Being able to drive legally is a big factor for the community because public transportation is just not a feasible option to get to their workplace.”

 

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The New Jersey State Legislature reintroduced a bill this month that if enacted, would allow qualified undocumented New Jerseyans to apply for a license and drive legally in our great state.

Filipinos would be among the 460 thousand New Jerseyans estimated to benefit from this legislation introduced by Assemblywoman Annette Quijano. It will require applicants to provide extensive and verifiable proof of identity and New Jersey residency, pay a fee, and to submit a written and road safety test.

It would also help to bring many New Jerseyans out of the shadows.

Despite New Jersey’s current law requiring proof of lawful status in the United States to obtain a state driver’s license, the simple reality is that driving is a requirement to survive in parts of the Garden state.

A survey done by the Filipino Immigrants & Workers Organizing Project in Jersey City, the second largest home to Filipinos in the state, found that 9 out of 10 Filipinos in the area agree with allowing undocumented immigrants the privilege to drive. Being able to drive legally is a big factor for the community because public transportation is just not a feasible option to get to their workplace.

New Jersey is home to about 525,000 undocumented residents from around the world, representing about 6 percent of the state’s population. These folks are our parents, our children, our neighbors. They pay over half a billion dollars each year in state and local taxes product of their hard work. they deserve the right to drive.

Last November over a thousand people stood outside of the Trenton statehouse in a major action to see the bill passed the Homeland Security Committee. Now that it has been reintroduced in a new legislative session, we hope that more residents stand by our side to push this issue forward until it is approved. This effort would not be possible without a unified voice. We are counting on you to make this happen.

Hanalei Ramos is an organizer for Filipino Immigrants & Workers Organizing Project (FIWOP)

Johanna Calle is the program director of the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice

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