New Jersey Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is expected to sign legislation passed in the State Assembly Thursday that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain professional and occupational licenses in the state, raising concerns about the supply of jobs during a pandemic.
Approved by the State Assembly, the bill would immediately take effect if signed by Murphy. The State Senate passed the bill last week. It would maintain all other requirements for licenses but allow immigrants to obtain them regardless of their status, NorthJersey.com reported.
Alyana Alfaro, a spokesperson for Murphy, told the outlet the governor “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.”
The bill would presumably open the floodgates for illegal immigrants to enter into a variety of professions — including as accountants, cosmetologists and pharmacists.
It came at a time when Americans faced heightened unemployment and economic turmoil due to coronavirus-related restrictions. The issue flared when two New Jersey gym owners defied authorities by kicking down the barricade that blocked the entrance to their business. The incident,