Cumberland: NJ should let immigrants here illegally have driver licenses
Cumberland County freeholders are reportedly sticking by their contention immigrants in the United States illegally should be able to get driver licenses.
"All we are doing is saying for our particular county it is something we would support," New Jersey Advance Media quotes Freeholder Director Joe Derella saying. "It hasn't been Republican or a Democrat issue, it's a moral issue."
The freeholders don't have any power to authorize licenses themselves — but on Aug. 25 in a 5-1 vote passed a resolution supporting any state law that would. According to the NJAM report, Assemblyman Sam Fiocchi, R-1st Dist., asked them to reconsider — but they declined.
In a statement he released in September, Fiocchi said while he has good friends on the freeholder board "they are dead wrong on this issue."
The only "no" vote in Augustwas from Republican Jim Sauro. Another Republican, Carman Daddario, had not been present.
Fiocchi's statement quoted Sauro as well: “We won’t fix the immigration mess in this country by rewarding illegal behavior. This will only incentivize more undocumented workers to pour over our borders in violation of our laws. Passing this resolution effectively puts up a ‘Welcome’ sign for illegal immigrants in Cumberland County.”
The NJAM report notes Cumberland County's immigrant population is on the rise, with many working in its agricultural industry.
Cumberland County's freeholder board isn't the first governmental body to support licenses for those in the country illegally — at least nine have, including Jersey City and Newark
A bill to do so has been referred to the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee and to the Senate Transportation Committee. It's backed by the New Jersey Alliance for Immigrant Justice, a coalition of 22 church, labor and immigration advocacy groups.
Also this week, Roselle became the second municipality — after Newark — to issue IDs to any residents regardless of immigration status. Council Member Yves F. Aubourg cast the final vote of the unanimous roll call with a “si,” to laughter and applause.