New Jersey One Step Away from Granting Professional Licenses to Illegal Aliens
By Shari Rendall | FAIR Take | July 2020
The New Jersey Assembly passed legislation on July 30 that allows illegal aliens to get occupational and professional licenses by a vote of 47-26. It was previously passed by the New Jersey Senate on June 29 by a vote of 26-11.
The bill removes immigration status requirements from those seeking occupational or professional licenses in New Jersey so long as the individuals applying for the licenses meet all the other requirements. Accountants, architects, beauticians, court reporters, doctors, dentists, engineers, nurses, occupational therapists, social workers and veterinarians are among the occupations in New Jersey that require licensure.
Allowing those in the country illegally to get occupational or professional licenses takes jobs away from American citizens and legal immigrants. Already there are more than 1.3 million unemployed individuals in New Jersey who are suffering as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns. Providing occupational or professional licenses to those in the country illegally incentivizes more illegal immigration. With high unemployment, the legislative focus should have been targeted to unemployed citizens and legal immigrants in New Jersey who desperately need to go back to work, instead of encouraging more illegal immigration.
Further this legislation directly flies in the face of federal law. Under 8 U.S.C. § 1621 illegal aliens are precluded from receiving commercial and professional licenses. Illegal aliens have no legal right to remain in the United States and are prohibited from being employed. Moreover, illegal aliens are subject to removal. Providing a professional or occupational license to an individual who could be deported at any time could needlessly jeopardize those who are depending on that individual for services. Likewise, giving someone here illegally an occupational or professional license obliterates the distinction between those who are legally present and those who are in violation of federal law.
One of the bill’s opponents, Assemblyman Harold Wirths (R-Sussex) said, “We have rules and laws in this country and, if you come into the country illegally and you are in violation of the law, I don’t think we should be granting you licenses.”
The bill now goes to Governor Phil Murphy who is expected to sign it. Prior to the Assembly’s passage Governor Murphy’s spokesperson Alyana Alfaro blurred the line between legal and illegal immigrants, saying, “Governor Murphy believes that immigrants are a critical part of the fabric of life in New Jersey, and that they should not face unnecessary barriers as they seek to participate in our society and economy.”