Driver’s Licenses For Illegal Aliens, Massachusetts Legislative Committee Says

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A key legislative committee of the Massachusetts Legislature is recommending a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

Si se puede,” chanted celebrating pro-illegal-immigrant activists late Wednesday afternoon in Nurses Hall at the Massachusetts State House in Boston, according to State House News Service.

The Spanish phrase means “Yes you can” in English – not far from former President Barack Obama’s slogan “Yes we can.”

The Joint Committee on Transportation of the Massachusetts Legislature voted Wednesday, February 5 to recommend a redrafted version of the measure (Massachusetts Senate Bill 2061), a sponsor of the bill, state Representative Christine Barber (D-Somerville), told State House News Service.

Current state law does not allow foreign nationals in the country illegally to get a driver’s license.

“No license of any type may be issued to any person who does not have lawful presence in the United States,” states the statute (Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 90, Section 8).

The bill would strike that language and replace it with:

“Persons who are unable to provide proof of lawful presence, or who are ineligible for a social security number, may apply for a Massachusetts license if they meet all other qualifications for licensure and provide satisfactory proof to the registrar of identity, date of birth and Massachusetts residency.”

Supporters say illegal immigrants need to drive to work and other places, and that they deserve to do so lawfully.

Opponents say issuing a driver’s license to people not in the country legally would encourage more illegal immigration and imperil safety, since the presence of illegal immigrants is largely undocumented.

Karen Spilka (D-Ashland), president of the Massachusetts Senate, supports the bill, according to State House News Service.

Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, opposes it. Baker said on September 4, 2019 – the date of the bill’s hearing before the Joint Committee on Transportation — that he would not support the bill, according to State House News Service.

If the full state Senate passes the bill, it would still need approval by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. If it passes both chambers, it would need the governor’s signature unless both chamber’s override a veto by two-thirds majorities.