Princeton takes steps to becoming more immigrant-friendly


The city of Princeton New Jersey has long prided itself on opening its doors to immigrants. Princeton took steps this week to make the town a little more immigrant-friendly.

The council will be fully supporting a set of resolutions recommended by the town’s Human Services Commission that they hope will make immigrants feel even more comfortable in Princeton – whether they’re in the country legally or not.

Councilwoman Heather Howard stated that “This is really the result of a lot of efforts that have been done … to advance the status of immigrants in our community and to make sure we have a welcoming community and to reflect the rich contributions of everyone in our community to our economic life, to our cultural life.”

Council passed a resolution calling on the State Legislature to allow people without documentation to obtain state driver’s licenses, something they believe will make roads safer and allow them to travel more freely for work or pleasure.

Princeton is now one of 10 other cities who have passed similar resolutions.

Council also voted to join Welcoming America, an Atlanta-based organization that  works with cities and counties on initiatives to integrate immigrants into the fabric of community life, and Cities United for Immigrant Action, a coalition of mayors from around the country who support comprehensive immigration reform.

“Are we going to welcome people of all races and ethnicities and respect their social and economic contributions to the town and the state,” said John Heilner, the chair of the Immigrations Issues subcommittee, “or are we just going to take the easy road and leave things as they are and use people’s labor for our benefit but not treat them as equals in the necessities of life?”

Both council members and residents agreed that the driver’s license measure would result in fewer uninsured and unlicensed drivers on the road and could help bolster the local economy by giving them access to more jobs.