A recent Massachusetts law that allows undocumented immigrants to receive a driver’s license has been hotly debated since it was passed. Now, voters are being given the chance to overturn it on Election Day with a vote on Question 4.
Under the current law, called the Work and Family Mobility Act, people who are not documented in the U.S. can apply for a driver’s license or permit if they can present certain documents such as a foreign passport or consular identification document, birth certificate, or a foreign national identification card.
When the bill was initially passed into law, it was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker, who said he worries that the law “increases the risk that noncitizens will be registered to vote.” But the state legislature overrode his veto.
A yes vote on this ballot question would keep the law in place. A vote no would repeal it.
Supporters of the law say keeping it in place makes Massachusetts roads safer by ensuring that more people driving have been vetted by the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and that it will also decrease the number of uninsured drivers.
“A yes vote means safer roads and better tools for law enforcement to do their jobs. In 17 states with similar laws, passage led to declines in uninsured drivers and hit-and-run crashes. That’s why this measure is endorsed by over 60 law enforcement officials statewide — including most sheriffs, district attorneys, and all 42 police chiefs in the Massachusetts Major Cities Chief of Police Association,” said Franklin Soults from Yes on 4 for Safer Roads.
Among the groups who would like to see the law overturned is Fair and Secure Massachusetts. They’ve echoed Baker’s concerns about how this law would impact voting in future elections (although the law’s proponents argue that, since any undocumented individual attempting to use a Massachusetts driver’s license to register to vote would face automatic deportation, it’s unlikely many would attempt it).
They’ve also called into question whether the RMV has the “capability or expertise necessary to verify documents from other countries.”
“This bill is patently unfair to those who have taken the time to immigrate to our great country via legal means and significantly diminishes the public safety of all residents of the Commonwealth,” said John Milligan from Fair and Secure Massachusetts. “We urge a no vote on this issue.”
Where do you stand on Question 4? Whether you’re voting yes or no, we want to know your thoughts on the Work and Family Mobility Act. Share with Boston.com by filling out the survey below or emailing us at [email protected] and we may feature your response in a future article or on our social media channels.
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