Gov. Phil Murphy (D-N.J.) signed legislation yesterday that allows undocumented individuals in New Jersey to obtain a professional or occupational license as long as they meet all other requirements for the license, according to a press release. These licenses include nursing, counseling and cosmetology, among other things.
“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, according to the release. “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.”
The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 allows for states to grant individuals, who do not lawfully reside in the United States, eligibility for various state benefits, such as professional and commercial licenses, according to the release.
“Today New Jersey is removing barriers that prevented talented, hardworking individuals from realizing their full potential as vital members of the state’s workforce," said New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, according to the release. “By welcoming all qualified individuals into our professional ranks, we not only benefit from their contributions to our economy, (but) we (also) are building and strengthening communities across our state.”