October 23, 2014
On the heels of a new, non-binding resolution making the Camden City Council the first governing body in New Jersey to support driving privilege cards for undocumented residents, a Wednesday night forum held on the same topic drew over 300 participants. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:
The event, organized by Camden County and held at St. Joseph Pro-Cathedral in heavily Hispanic East Camden, came out of an increased demand on the city’s Office of Hispanic Affairs.”We were hearing real problems, and lots of them, and we decided we needed to have a meeting to educate the public and bring legislators in to hear our side and to become advocates for our concerns,” said Freeholder Carmen G. Rodriguez.
One of the most frequently voiced concerns was the possibility of facing immigration court and even deportation as the result of a routine traffic stop. Another major topic of discussion was the resolution passed by the City Council earlier this month:
The resolution is not legally binding, but two bills are pending in the Senate and the Assembly. The proposals would require the Motor Vehicle Commission to issue driving-privilege cards to applicants who are New Jersey residents but cannot provide proof of their authorized presence in the United States.
Governor Chris Christie has stated his opposition to giving undocumented residents driving privileges, but if nothing else, proponents of the bill hope that it will send a message to the rest of the state.