Massachusetts House Approves Driver’s License For Illegal Immigrants Bill

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The Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday that would allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses.

The House voted 120-36 to approve the bill (H 4461). Every Republican voted against it and a handful of Democrats opposed it as well.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker opposes giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. However, since the bill got more than two-thirds support from the House, Baker will likely not be able to sustain a veto. The Massachusetts Senate has not voted on the measure, but it has 37 Democrats and just three Republicans.

State Representative  Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster), a former state police sergeant, expressed concern over the measure during the debate on Wednesday, February 16.

“My family came into this country from Ireland. I have no idea what a certified birth certificate looks like from County Cork where my family is from,” Whelan said from the floor of the House, according to State House News Service. “Are we demanding too much of our Registry of Motor Vehicle clerks? Are we asking them to become experts in foreign documentation and forgery detection? Are we establishing bifurcated sets of requirements for citizens and foreign nationals with legal presence versus those here without legal presence?”

Massachusetts Republican Party chairman Jim Lyons also opposes the measure.

“The idea that individuals can cut in line and illegally enter the United States of America, then be rewarded with the privilege of obtaining a Massachusetts driver’s license, shows yet again just how far left the state Legislature has become,” Lyons said in a press release on Wednesday. “This new law will only serve to encourage more illegal immigration and make the problem much worse.”

The bill should have no problem passing the Massachusetts Senate because Senate president Karen Spilka (D-Ashland) supports the bill.

“As the granddaughter of immigrants, I have been a longtime supporter of the idea behind the Work and Family Mobility Act,” Spilka said in a statement on Wednesday. “I know that there are many Senators who support it as well, so I am excited to see progress is being made on this measure, because individuals and families deserve to feel safe, and drivers’ licenses for all qualified state residents is good for our economy and public safety. As the bill now heads to the Senate, I very much look forward to having further discussions with our membership on this issue.”

Spilka did not say when the Senate plans to vote on the bill.


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