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New York & New Jersey Move to Issue Licenses to Undocumented Residents

HeadlineDec 17, 2019

Here in New York, thousands of undocumented people waited in lines at Department of Motor Vehicles Monday to apply for a driver’s license — marking a major victory for immigrant rights. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Green Light Law in June, which allows people to apply for a driver’s license using alternative forms of identification, instead of providing a Social Security number. Meanwhile, in the neighboring state of New Jersey, legislators also passed a bill Monday to allow undocumented people to apply for driver’s licenses, following emotional testimonies at the state Assembly last week. Among those to testify was a 9-year-old New Jersey resident named David.

David Cuautle: “We need these licenses because there’s cold weather, snow. And then, when the snow gets higher, we’re not going to be able to walk. You can call this community a 'great community' when we need licenses? Licenses can help our children go to a better — go to school and learn. Because my parents don’t have a license, that’s why I barely go to school. And I came here today because I support the licenses.”

On Monday, as New Jersey lawmakers approved the bill to grant undocumented people driver’s licenses, supporters erupted in cheers and chants of “Sí, se pudo” — “yes, we could.” New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has already said he will sign the legislation into law.

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