A local legislator is one step closer to adding illegal immigrant changes to the state budget after several instances in local communities prompted action.
In a release from State Senator Robert Hedlund’s office (R-Weymouth), officials said that the reforms include immigration status screening for state-subsidized public housing applicants, a ban on registering a car without a valid driver’s license, and work place verifications.
The bill would also increase fines for those who drive without a license as well as for those who produce fake driver’s licenses or other fake identification.
The amendment has been approved as part of the state budget, but will still need to go through the House and the Governor before July 1 before being enacted.
According to a release from Hedlund’s office, the reforms follow in the wake of several instances where illegal immigrants committed motor vehicle crimes.
In November 2010, a Hingham Police Officer witnessed a motor vehicle crash and then watches as one of the operators allegedly attempted to walk away.
Police detained the man, who provided three false identities and was then arrested.
It wasn’t the first time Hingham has dealt with motor vehicle crimes associated with illegal immigrants.
In 2002, a Brazilian immigrant was charged with allegedly killing a Weymouth man in a car crash in Hingham.
In Milford, a 23-year old man was dragged to his death by an illegal immigrant from Ecuador, who was allegedly driving drunk without a valid license.
In Boxborough, a Mexican immigrant was arrested in September for his sixth driving while intoxicated offense. The suspect had previously been deported.
According to Hedlund, by increasing penalties for driving without a license and for other driving related infractions associated with providing false identification, many of these events could have been prevented.
“The time for reform was before someone was killed by the reckless actions of an individual who should not have been here. Unfortunately we too often legislate reactively instead of proactively,” Hedlund said in the release. “I have long championed the reforms included in this bi-partisan measure, and the needs for such reforms have never been clearer. I will continue to lead the charge to address this issue at the state level.”
Hedlund said the legislation, which includes many initiatives he has offered in the past five years, is “one of the toughest, most comprehensive, and practical reform amendments we have accepted in all my years here on Beacon Hill,” he said.
The amendment was adopted as part of the Senate budget debate in late May. A budget conference will be held in upcoming weeks to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate budgets.
The final budget will need approval by the Governor before July 1.