New Jersey Governor Signs Three Important Laws to Protect Immigrant Rights
Governor Murphy of New Jersey has signed three critical measures aimed at protecting immigrants’ rights and well-being in the state, marking a huge step toward inclusivity.
Phil Murphy signs three bills, strengthening immigrant rights in New Jersey, focusing on workers, language access, and community diversity:
Phil Murphy signs three bills, strengthening immigrant rights in New Jersey, focusing on workers, language access, and community diversity.
— New India Abroad (@NewIndiaAbroad) January 14, 2024
1. Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act (S-723/A-822): Ensuring Dignity and Protection for Domestic Workers
The first law, the ‘New Jersey Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights Act,’ establishes a comprehensive set of rights and safeguards for domestic workers.
This groundbreaking legislation aims to correct historical exclusions by providing wage and hour protections, anti-discrimination and anti-harassment measures, health and safety standards, and requirements for written contracts and termination notices.
2. Language Access Law (S-2459/ACS for A-3837): Breaking Down Language Barriers for Immigrant Communities
The second law mandates state government entities to offer vital documents and translation services in the 15 most commonly spoken non-English languages in New Jersey.
This initiative is a response to the language barriers faced by immigrant communities, ensuring they can access essential services and information.
3. Demographic Data Collection Update (A-3092wGR/S2415): Reflecting Diversity in State Data
The third law requires state agencies to update their methods of collecting demographic data.
This update aims to better represent the diversity within specific communities, including Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian populations.
Positive Reactions from Key Figures and Advocates
Johanna Calle, Director of NJ Human Services’ Office of New Americans, emphasized the crucial role of breaking down language barriers for immigrants to access government programs and services.
Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin commended the legislation, underscoring the importance of the Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights in addressing historical racial prejudices.
Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo expressed optimism, stating, “This law is another step forward to ensure all workers, especially those who can be vulnerable, marginalized, or unseen, are afforded our rigorous protections and generous benefits.”
Lawmakers and Advocates Emphasize Significance
Former Governor Codey, one of the bill’s sponsors, highlighted the critical role of domestic workers in supporting New Jersey families and the importance of legal protections against workplace abuses.
Similarly, Senator Britnee Timberlake, former Assemblywoman Mila Jasey, and Assemblywoman Verlina Reynolds-Jackson emphasized the significance of the law in providing basic rights and dignity to domestic workers.
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Implementation and Immediate Impact
The language access law takes effect immediately, with translations in all required languages to be completed within 23 months.
This timely implementation is seen as essential in ensuring all residents, regardless of their language proficiency, have access to state services.
A Major Stride Towards Equality
The enactment of these laws is celebrated as a significant stride in ensuring fair treatment and equal opportunities for New Jersey’s diverse immigrant population.
Advocates and community leaders widely praise the legislation, viewing it as a crucial measure in making New Jersey a more equitable and welcoming state for immigrants.