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Tipsheet

Massachusetts Voters to Decide on Driver's Licenses for Illegal Immigrants

AP Photo/Eric Risberg

In November, voters in Massachusetts will decide on rejecting a state law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a driver’s license. 

The Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office certified the number of signatures needed to put the effort on the ballot to repeal the law, the Boston Herald reported. The Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division said 71,883 signatures were submitted and allowed. This figure surpassed the requirement of 40,120.

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“It just shows how out of touch the Democratic Legislature is with the will of the people,” Massachusetts GOP chairman Jim Lyons told the Herald. “We will absolutely win. A poll had us winning 51 percent to 37 percent.”

The law, the “Work and Family Mobility Act,” allows those who do “not provide proof of lawful presence in the United States” to provide a valid, unexpired foreign passport and another piece of documentation, such as a birth certificate or foreign national identification card, to get a Massachusetts driver’s license. 

The Associated Press noted that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed the measure in May after the Democrat-controlled House and Senate passed it. Shortly after, the legislature overrode Baker’s veto, and joined 16 other states and Washington, D.C., which have similar laws.

The repeal effort is led by Maureen Maloney, whose son, Matthew Denice, was killed in 2011 after he was killed by a driver who was in the United States illegally. According to the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Maloney filed a statement of organization with the Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance on June 13 to create a Fair and Secure Massachusetts committee to repeal the law.

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“I do not think that we should be rewarding people for being in the country illegally,” Maloney told FAIR. “I think the RMV [Registry of Motor Vehicles] is not equipped to properly vet people coming into the United States from over 100 different countries and being able to reliably decipher their documentation that, first of all, is in the different language, and second of all, for validity.”

Sarang Sekhavat with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition said that the law “simply makes the roads safer,” according to WBUR.

"The rule of law matters," Lyons said. "People that are in the country illegally should not be rewarded for their behavior by getting a driver's license."

If voters do not strike the law down, it will go into effect next July. 

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