State Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-North Bergen) will co-sponsor a bill to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
The announcement comes 20 days before the North Bergen municipal elections, when Sacco is seeking re-election to an 8th term as mayor in a Hudson County municipality that is 68% Hispanic.
Sacco is a heavy favorite to win that race, but has been seeking to run up the score against Larry Wainstein, a local businessman who is making his second bid for mayor.
“Everyone deserves an opportunity to work hard, take care of their family and live a better life, and I have come into contact with thousands of immigrant families here in North Bergen striving every day to accomplish those goals,” said Sacco. “This legislation would remove a severe barrier to living the American Dream for half a million New Jersey residents, and in the process would make our roads safer for all drivers by mandating proper insurance coverage and driver training. I’m proud to stand with immigrant advocates on this important issue and I will work to make sure it is enacted into law.”
One of the speakers at Sacco’s announcement was Jorge Acosta, a Cuban immigrant who owns the Trova Cuban Café. He spoke of the challenges for working in the United States without access to a driver license. The event was held at his restaurant.
Sacco’s decision to add his name as a co-sponsor won the praise of Bishop Antonio A. Merino, the president of the Coalition of Latino Pastors and Ministers.
“We commend Senator Sacco for standing up on behalf of the thousands of residents who live in the shadows of our communities and can’t perform the most essential daily functions and activities, such as taking their children to school, going to medical visits or grocery shopping,” Merino said.
The legislation was introduced last December but has not yet been considered by the Senate Transportation Committee.
“Our families cannot wait another day to be able to drive safely in New Jersey,” said Olga Armas of Make the Road New Jersey. “As the federal government continues to attack immigrant communities, New Jersey must stand up to expand access to drivers licenses for all qualified drivers – our roads will be safer, our families will stay together, and our communities will thrive.”