Illegal alien residents of Massachusetts will soon have the ability to obtain driver’s licenses. Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, recently vetoed a bill that would have done just that, but both chambers of the Massachusetts legislature voted to override the veto.
The law, titled the Work and Family Mobility Act, will go into effect on July 1, 2023. As of that date, illegal alien residents of Massachusetts will have to pass both a written and road test before obtaining a license.
Governor Baker explained that he vetoed the bill over concerns of illegal aliens voting in elections. In a statement explaining his veto, Baker also expressed concern over the burden it would place on state motor vehicle workers to verify foreign documents. “The RMV does not have the expertise or ability to verify the validity of many types of documents from other countries,” Baker said.
Baker’s concerns were ultimately overruled by overwhelming margins in each chamber. The deep blue state’s House voted 119-36 and the Senate 32-8 to override Baker, according to The Epoch Times.
In addition to overwhelming support in the state legislature, the bill secured the backing of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police and a majority of the state’s sheriffs and district attorneys. Supporters of the bill claim that allowing illegal aliens to obtain driver’s licenses will make roads safer for all Americans.
Massachusetts state Senator John Keenan, a Democrat, said he is hoping the move will lead to a nationwide movement, The Epoch Times reported. 16 states already issue driver’s licenses to illegal alien residents, including California, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Virginia and Utah among others.
While immigration activists have pushed the measures for over a decade, the movement has gained significant traction over the last three years. Illegal alien residents have staged multiple demonstrations demanding the right to obtain a driver’s license over that time period.
🚨 HAPPENING NOW: Hundreds are marching in Boston, MA to demand #LicensesForAll from the Democratic state legislature, scheduled to resume soon for an extended session due to the pandemic. Undocumented immigrants should be able to drive freely and safely in Massachusetts! pic.twitter.com/fK4rbA6GHl
— Movimiento Cosecha (@CosechaMovement) September 26, 2020
Yamila Ruiz, a native and legal resident of Argentina, told a story about the trauma she experienced when her father was arrested for driving without a license when she was 12-years-old while speaking at one of the rallies. “We had to live through the agonizing fear he was going to be deported and that we would never see him again,” Ruiz said while speaking in the state capital of Boston.
In February, 19 mayors from around the state including Boston Mayor Michelle Wu signed a letter endorsing licenses for “undocumented workers.”
Massachusetts currently hosts about 200,000 illegal aliens.