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How To Get a NJ Driver’s License Under the New Law As An Undocumented Immigrant

Almost everyone has to drive. As an undocumented immigrant, most states don’t allow you to get a license. It is illegal to drive without a valid license. If you are stopped and don’t have a license, you could wind up in ICE custody.

Transcript (Transcripción):

Andres Mejer :Welcome to the English version of Para Ser Legal. To be legal today, three things. One, New Jersey is providing licenses to undocumented immigrants. Big news happened just about three days ago on Thursday. So should you get your license? Shouldn’t you get your license? What are the negative consequences of having your license, if any? What are the benefits? We’ll talk all about that. Second thing, Trump wants to deport those that have DACA. I know that’s really a big surprise to people, but here’s what’s been going on in the past since October, November. The Trump administration is actually reopening cases that have already been closed. And because they had DACA, that’s the second thing. Third thing. What if you worked in the U.S. illegally? What are the problems? What are the consequences? Will it stop your ability, get your Green Card? Will it prevent you from achieving legal status? We’ll talk about that and more.

Andres Mejer :My name is Andrés Mejer. I’m a published author, public speaker and immigration attorney. Don’t hold that against me. Any questions or comments? We’re here for you. Give us a call. Subscribe to our two hour channel. We’re here for you. New Jersey will give undocumented immigrants driver’s license. Big news Thursday, December 19th. Only four days ago, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law that allows undocumented immigrants to get a New Jersey driver’s license. Now, we’ve talked about this bill before, differences. Now it actually is a law. So the law creates two forms of identification. One complies with the federal Real I.D. Act, which allows you to board domestic planes and to enter federal buildings.

Andres Mejer :Now, this will only be available for documented residents, meaning green card holders, visa holders that are here for a longer period of time, like a T and visa and each one, B visa, a student visa. All of those will be able to get federal Real I.D. Act compliant driver’s license, how to tell a difference. It has a yellow star on the operating corner. The second category is they’re calling the standard basic license. This will be available for all New Jersey residents. Doesn’t matter whether you’re legal or illegal, you’ll just have to provide six points of ID, which let me tell you, it is a real pain in the butt. New Jersey is the hardest of any state in the union to prove those points in order to get your license. Now, the bill will come into effect for another year precisely so that they can revise the requirements for how to prove the six points. The bill also prohibits insurance companies from charging more for those that that have this license. It also prohibits employment, housing and public accommodation or discrimination against any individual just for holding a standard basic driver’s license or identification. Like I said, the bill goes into effect January 1st, 2021 in one year, and they anticipate that there are five hundred thousand immigrants that are driving age and will be able to get the standard basic driver’s license.

Andres Mejer :Now, should you get the license? Now for most undocumented immigrants? Driver’s license is a blessing. You know, it’s a little bit easier to get to work. It’ll be easier to drop and pick up the kids from school. It’ll be easier to take the kids, to the doctor, or to do grocery shopping or what have you. It just makes life easier. In New Jersey, I don’t know how people survived without one. Taxi’s or Ubers, you know, are just expensive when you when it’s your means of transportation. There is not a lot of good public transportation in New Jersey. So for most undocumented immigrants, getting this license is a blessing. However, if you have an order of rest or you have an order of deportation, you’re telling the government where you live. You should clean up your situation before applying. I have clients that had an order of deportation have been pulled over by the police for traffic violations over the course of years. Never had a problem until they did so by becoming federal ICE, but becoming real I.D. compliant. So this happened after 9/11 and essentially means that states databases, there’s a variety of things, but part of it is to have to comply with certain requirements so that federal government and law enforcement could share information from state to state. Part of that law enforcement is ICE Now it. Does that mean the ICE is going to get access to New Jersey databases? Probably not without an order or a court order or something like it, but that doesn’t mean. So there are been two states, Vermont and I think is Utah. But I’m not I’m not sure there were two states that have given ICE full access to their database without anybody’s permission. So without a court order. So now we’re talking about the U.S. citizens whose rights have been violated in order to find a select few.

Andres Mejer :And there are there are consequences for doing that. But the point is, if you have an order of removal, if you have an order of deportation, you know, called talk to somebody first, see if you can change the situation, find out, does it make sense for you to apply for a driver’s license and let the government know, hey, here’s where I live. For most people, this is a blessing for most undocumented immigrants. This is a blessing and it’s a fantastic Christmas gift. However, for a certain few, it’s not there. There’s a there’s a husband. I met with today. His father is a U.S. citizen. His mother is a U.S. citizen. All of his siblings are U.S. citizens. He’s not. His father applied for him. In 1997, he sensed married. And the priority date is not current Now to make it worse. He was driving in Michigan. He was picked up by ICE because he was close to the border and he was put in removal proceedings. That was in 2002. So here we are in 2019. He’s married. He has three U.S. citizen children. Should he fight? Should he request his driver’s license? The answer is no. He should not until he cleans up his immigration situation because he puts himself at risk. How much is the risk? Impossible to quantify. What I do know is it’s more likely the government will find out he’s here illegally and he has an order of removal if he applies for a benefit that only an undocumented immigrant can get. Now, his wife doesn’t have that problem.

Andres Mejer :Now, his wife also qualifies for a U visa. And I’m not saying that he doesn’t have a way to clean up his case. Is his immigration status? He does. And we’re helping him. But the point is he shouldn’t file for that driver’s license unless and until he cleans up his past. Otherwise, he may not be here to enjoy his children growing up. It’s sad. It’s terrible, but it is a reality and we got to talk about it. So should he file? He should clean up his situation first. His wife, on the other hand, she doesn’t have a problem. She doesn’t have an order removal. She doesn’t have an order of rest. She was actually a victim of a qualified crime. She assisted law enforcement on three occasions. She qualifies for a U visa. She definitely should apply. So New Jersey is giving licenses to undocumented immigrants in 2021 in the future, we’ll provide you more information about what you need to apply, how you how you meet the six points. I mean, I could tell you, I mean six points today, but today an undocumented immigrant can’t because they don’t have a Social Security number. They don’t have a driver’s license. They don’t have a U.S. passport, they don’t have a birth certificate. Sharjah are born in United States. They don’t have any of those things. Those are core identity documents that you need to provide. Now, I’m assuming they will do it with a passport. I don’t know that for a fact. We’ll wait and see. And as they release the rules and regulations for how to apply a driver’s license, we’ll let you know. So stay tuned. Subscribe to our channel. And the moment we know, we’ll let you know.

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