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January 8, 2019

More than half of New Jersey voters — across party lines — favor allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain limited driver’s licenses in the state, according to a new poll commissioned by supporters of the licenses.

A survey commissioned by the special interest group Let’s Drive NJ surveyed 561 registered voters across the state and found that 54 percent supported legislation expanding access to driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants compared to 29 percent who opposed such legislation. Seventeen percent said they were “unsure.”

The majority of registered Democrats — 62 percent — favored the legislation while 47 percent of registered Republicans also gave it a thumbs up. Thirty-eight percent of registered Republicans said they oppose it.

There are currently two bills in the Legislature, A-4743 and S-3229, that would allow undocumented residents to obtain licenses. Neither has been scheduled for a vote. Meanwhile, advocates are pushing lawmakers to move on the issue sooner rather than later.

“New Jersey cannot hold off any longer on moving this forward,” Johanna Calle, director of New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, said. “We have been fighting for this type of legislation for almost 12 years now.”

Calle said her organization has spoken with Gov. Phil Murphy and Senate President Steve Sweeney who have both expressed support for the legislation. She said the Assembly leadership may be holding the process up.

“The bill is ready to go,” Calle said. “This really comes down to the committee chairs and the Assembly Speaker to move this forward.”

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