Life as an immigrant in New Jersey may be fraught with challenges, especially if the person involved in undocumented. Even getting pulled over by police is often enough to prompt a full-blown anxiety attack. You see, most undocumented immigrants drive without valid operators' licenses. If you ask them why, most will tell you it's because they have to drive to get to and from work each day. The question then becomes, “Is driving without a license or insurance worth it just to keep a job?”
The answer to such a question is, of course, individual. Some might say they'll do just about anything to maintain gainful employment in the United States. Others will tell you they'd like to do things differently, but they feel pressed into driving with no license because they have to work to pay their bills.
Some immigrants can get driving privileges
Not every state refuses to issue valid drivers' licenses to undocumented immigrants. In fact, at least 12 states already allow non-citizens to take valid drivers' tests. New Jersey is not one of them. Keeping the following in mind may help you avoid problems:
- As part of Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals, many immigrants received adjustments of status, which then opens up driving privileges to them if they pass their tests.
- Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals is available in every state.
- Car insurance is typically quite expensive, especially for younger drivers.
- If you get pulled over and don't have a license or proof of insurance, you can request immediate assistance from a legal advocate.
You may think that because you are undocumented, and uninsured that there's nothing you can do to rectify problematic driving situations. This, however, is not always true. As many immigrants can attest, the right connections can help you mitigate negative circumstances.
One of the best advocates you can have on your side in such situations is an experienced attorney. With keen insight and vast knowledge regarding all traffic laws, as well as anything having to do with the U.S. immigration system, an attorney can offer suggestions about how best to proceed in court regarding a particular situation. In best cases, you will come out ahead of the game, stay out of jail and perhaps be able to seek a permanent adjustment of status in order to apply for a valid driver's license in New Jersey.
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