Barchi urges NJ lawmakers to allow undocumented immigrants to have drivers' licenses
University President Robert L. Barchi urged New Jersey lawmakers to pass legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to gain the ability to obtain driver’s licenses, according to an article on Politico PRO.
The news outlet was given letters by Barchi sent to President of the New Jersey Senate Steve Sweeney (D-3) and Speaker of the Assembly Craig Coughlin, according to the article.
"This bill is of particular interest and importance to the University and hundreds of students at Rutgers who have (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) protections. Many of these students commute to our campuses in Newark, Camden, Piscataway and New Brunswick," Barchi’s letter stated, according to the article. "Simply put, driver's licenses are essential to their pursuit of a college degree."
Although Barchi would like lawmakers to hold hearings “as soon as possible,” he admits that the bill is most likely not to be considered until the “lame-duck” session in 2020, which is the time period after elections and before the newly elected officials have been sworn in, according to the article.
Dory Devlin, the senior director of University News and Media Relations, said that Barchi "understands that, given the legislative calendar, the bill is not likely to be considered until sometime later this year. He is hopeful that it will be discussed and considered during the lame-duck session," according to the article.
A spokesperson for Coughlin said that the bill should be done correctly rather than quickly and that he is waiting for a final product before deciding on its timeframe, according to the article.
The letter was the second time in a week that Barchi has challenged state lawmakers, the first time being at last week’s University Senate address when he said that Rutgers’ title as “State University” may have to be rethought if the University does not receive more state funding, according to the article.
"Are we a state university anymore when the state support for Rutgers has gone from 90% to less than 20%?" Barchi said, according to the article. "At some point, you cross the line into being a state-affiliated university rather than a state university."
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