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New Jersey Advocates Demand Explanation for Driver’s License Delay

Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law letting undocumented immigrants get driver’s licenses, but Motor Vehicle Commission delays are holding it up.

Deanna Garcia

Jan 13, 2021

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signs law letting immigrants get professional licenses

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signs law letting immigrants get professional licenses

The Let’s Drive NJ Coalition wants New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D) administration and the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission to address concerns and questions regarding a delay in expanding access to driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. The coalition wants the MVC to work closely with advocates and immigration community leaders to figure out a timeline to further the program. Murphy signed a law allowing the undocumented to get driver’s licenses in December 2019 and was set to be in effect this month. The MVC announced Dec. 28 that it was not prepared to implement this law, leaving 450,000 New Jersey immigrants in limbo. InsiderNJ 

In other local immigration news…

Father’s Deportation Led His U.S. Citizen Children to Follow

Melvin Herrera-Interriano was stopped by Plainfield, New Jersey, police for making an illegal turn in 2019. He did not have an insurance card for the work van he was driving, and police sent him to federal immigration authorities over a 2005 deportation order instead of issuing him a summons. Herrera-Interriano was deported to Honduras four months later. His children did not understand why he left, so their mother, Geyde Zapata, decided to reunite the family in Honduras. Ellen Whitt, a volunteer with DIRE who worked on Herrera-Interiano’s case, explained that it is difficult for children who are U.S. citizens to understand why their parents would be unwillingly separated from them. Gothamist

Police Took Down “Abolish ICE” Banner From New York Public Library

New York City Department police removed an “Abolish ICE” banner that someone hung in front of the Fifth Avenue New York Public Library on Tuesday. The black banner that hung above the arch of the building read in Spanish: “11 millones exigimos protección permanente ya,” translating to “11 million we demand permanent protection now.” Below the message said, “ABOLISH ICE,” referring to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Police were alerted about the banner around 8 a.m. and responding officers retrieved and folded it up. There are no suspects and no arrests were made. New York Post 

Jackson Heights Rep. Named Immigration Task Force Leader

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie chose Assemblymember Catalina Cruz of Jackson Heights to lead the Assembly’s Task Force on New Americans. The task force advocates for policies and legislation that provide equity to all immigrants, and aims to raise awareness for the positive economic and social impacts immigrants have on the state. Cruz, a former Dreamer and Medellin, Colombia, native, served as counsel to the City Council’s Committee on Immigration and outlined city laws that currently protect people against immigrant service fraud. Cruz also worked on the law that protects the Constitutional Rights of immigrants in NYC, also known as the Detainer Law. QNS



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