There is an effort underway in the state Legislature to make it possible for illegal immigrants to legally drive in New Jersey.


Under the measure, New Jersey would be required to issue photo “driving privilege” cards to residents who could not prove that they were in this country legally, but were able to show they lived in the state.

The current state law states that immigrants must at least have temporary visa status to get a driver’s license.

The legislation that is being considered goes further than any previous New Jersey bills. It includes a clause that would charge officials who discriminate against card holders with deprivation of civil rights, punishable by up to 3 to 5 years in prison, and a fine of as much as $15,000.

Immigrants who provide false documentation to get the cards would face fines of up to $10,000, and up to 18 months in prison.

Under the bill, the cards would be valid for one year and applicants would have to pay an additional fee on top of what citizens have to pay for driver’s licenses for the first 5 years of the program. The Motor Vehicle Commission would determine the documentation needed.

While a spokesman for Gov. Chris Christie declined to comment, the measure is certain to face significant opposition among Republican lawmakers.

A similar but less expansive bill was introduced in the Assembly in 2006 and reintroduced in 2008, but it never advanced and was never introduced in the Senate.

How do you feel about letting illegal immigrants legally drive in New Jersey?