NJ enacts law allowing undocumented immigrants to get professional, occupational licenses

New Jersey
Phil Murphy

Phil Murphy (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

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NEW JERSEY — Undocumented immigrants in New Jersey will be able to obtain a professional or occupational license going forward under legislation signed into law by Governor Phil Murphy on Tuesday.

The bill impacts about 500,000 undocumented residents in the state. They’ll be able to get professional licenses for nursing, counseling and cosmetology, among other careers.

“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. “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.”

Rutgers University premed student Estella Rivas explained how the new law can help, especially amid the coronavirus outbreak.

“As an aspiring doctor, I faced barriers to pursuing a career in medicine due to my immigration status at a moment when our state needs us most,” Rivas said. “Today, I no longer have to watch from the sidelines, I can pursue my degree and be there to provide aid to our most vulnerable New Jerseyans.”

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