New Jersey became the latest state in the nation to allow illegal immigrants to get professional or occupational licenses. According to a press release from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, the bill impacts roughly 500,000 illegal immigrants in New Jersey.
“New Jersey is stronger when everyone is given the opportunity to contribute and everyone is given a chance to live their American Dream,” Murphy said. “This law sends a simple, powerful message that immigration status can no longer be used as an excuse to discriminate among equally educated, trained, and qualified individuals. As we look toward our shared economic future, we must ensure that no one is left behind and everyone who puts forward the effort can succeed.”
There are a few interesting things that New Jersey officials said. The Attorney General said welcoming all qualified individuals into the professional ranks will benefit the state in numerous ways.
But, if they aren’t in the country legally, are they really qualified to receive a professional license?
The Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs said immigration status should have no bearing on the ability to obtain a professional or occupational license.
The Human Services Commissioner said COVID has shown just how vital illegal immigrant labor is to the essential frontline workforce of New Jersey. Carole Johnson then called the illegal immigrants New Jerseyans. Not sure if they’re in the state illegally they should be considered New Jerseyans, but whatever.
Estrella Rivas, Youth Leader at Make the Road New Jersey and Third-Year Premed student at Rutgers, praised the legislation. She said the law takes away “unconstitutional and unnecessary barriers” to occupational licensure.
Not sure how requiring someone be a legal citizen in order to receive an occupational license is unconstitutional.