Proposed Massachusetts Ballot Initiative Would Repeal New Driver’s-Licenses-For Illegal-Immigrants Law

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Matthew Denice was 23 years old when he was killed by an illegal immigrant driving drunk.

Now, the late Milford resident’s mother, Maureen Maloney, wants to ensure driver’s licenses do not end up in the hands of illegal immigrants in Massachusetts.

Maloney, a Republican state committeewoman from Milford, is leading a ballot initiative effort called Fair and Secure Massachusetts to try to prevent the Commonwealth from issuing driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants; if supporters collect enough signatures, the question will be on the November 2022 general election ballot.

In June, the Massachusetts legislature overrode Governor Charlie Baker’s veto of a bill (H.4805) to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses; the measure passed despite bipartisan opposition. The Senate overrode the governor’s veto 32-8 (80 percent of its members) and the House overrode the veto 119-36 (about 77 percent of its members); to override a veto requires a two-thirds majority in each chamber.

Enacting the bill means that starting on July 1, 2023, illegal immigrants will be eligible to obtain driver’s licenses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

That is, unless this ballot initiative succeeds in stopping the measure.

Maloney told NewBostonPost she doesn’t want to see more people killed by illegal immigrants – and that she thinks issuing driver’s licenses would cause other problems, as well.

“This law is a reckless and dangerous law for many reasons,” Maloney said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “One:  it’s gonna put many more lives at risk having these people on the roads driving by providing them with a valid driver’s license. It also increases the risk for fraudulent voting.”

To obtain a driver’s license, illegal immigrants would have to show the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles two documents proving their date of birth and identity, such as a passport, a consular identification document, a certified copy of a birth certificate, a national ID card, or a national heath card. 

Maloney, alluding to past problems, questioned the proposed process, saying that the Registry of Motor Vehicles isn’t known as a bastion of good governance.

“We’re gonna put the RMV clerks in charge of inspecting documents from foreign countries in a foreign language and expect them to be able to authenticate them and determine what might be fraudulent and what isn’t fraudulent? The RMV has its share of scandals over the years,” Maloney said.

A large proportion of illegal immigrants in the United States are Latin Americans who speak Spanish. But as Maloney noted, many others come from other parts of the world, including some that do not use the Roman alphabet.

Among those who enter the country from the U.S.-Mexico border are people from China, Russia, Romania, Afghanistan, and Zimbabwe, among others.

Maloney noted that in any given year, people from 100 countries try to illegally cross into the country via the U.S.-Mexico border, as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security confirms

Additionally, the country also gets illegal immigrants through the U.S.-Canada border, as well as visa overstays, including from student, work, and tourism visas. 

Maloney also said that many people coming here don’t want people to know their real identity, particularly criminals. 

“I’ve been down to the border and I’ve been in touch with a lot of people who work on the border,” she said. “Many of the people who are coming here are ditching their identity before they come to the United States because they have intentions of coming here and starting with a new identity. We don’t even know who these people are that are crossing the border. We don’t know their criminal record. We don’t know their driving record. We don’t know if they’re terrorists. And I’m sure terrorists are getting through.”

On the issue of voter fraud, Maloney noted that the Registry of Motor Vehicles automatically registers people to vote unless they opt out. The new state law sets up a process for ensuring that non-citizens aren’t registered to vote. But Maloney questions that process, saying that the Registry is prone to mistakes. She pointed out that the Brockton registry gave 2,000 people driver’s licenses over the span of several years without their even taking a road test. 

Additionally, Maloney said that offering driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants is bad because it provides yet another incentive for illegal immigration. 

“And this law promotes and incentivizes illegal behavior. It creates another magnet who want to come to Massachusetts,” Maloney said. “They already get a lot of benefits from the state which a lot of people may not realize. They can collect welfare for their children, get free health care, get a public education, there’s plenty of jobs available for them. There’s a lot of reasons why they’d want to come to Massachusetts and now we’re giving them an additional reason – a valid driver’s license that is identical to my license and your license and many other people’s licenses.”

Supporters of the bill have several arguments in favor of driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. Supporters say, among other things, that illegal immigrants need driver’s licenses to get to work and doctors’ appointments, that they play a key role in the state’s workforce, that allowing them to have licenses would prevent some hit-and-run accidents, that it would result in more Bay State residents with car insurance, and that it would give the state millions in additional revenue because of licensing and registration fees.

Maloney’s proposed ballot question to repeal the law is what’s known as a referendum petition. 

The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office states:  “A referendum petition is a way for people to propose repealing a law enacted by the Legislature and [is] voted on in statewide general elections. Referendum petitions to repeal a law are filed with the Secretary of State’s Office 30 days after the law is enacted.”

For the question to make it onto the statewide ballot, supporters will need to collect 40,120 certified signatures of registered voters by August 24, 2022. Maloney said to be safe, repeal supporters are aiming to obtain 60,000 signatures.

On Tuesday, June 28, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey approved the proposed language for the 2022 state ballot question. 

If the question makes the ballot, then voters will be given two options:  Yes, if they support the new driver’s-licenses-for-illegal-immigrants law; and No if they want to repeal it.

The Massachusetts Republican Party and the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance support the No side, arguing that voters should stop driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

“The legislature’s move, driven by Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate President Karen Spilka, to give driver’s licenses to people in this country illegally resonated like no other issue before with the people of Massachusetts,” Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance spokesman Paul Diego Craney said in a written statement. “MassFiscal set a record with the number of people who used our website to contact their legislators opposing this vote. Thousands of people reached out to their state legislators and many individual lawmakers received hundreds of emails from their constituents as a direct result of our advocacy to hold our elected officials accountable.

“It’s unfortunate that so many lawmakers chose to ignore the will of their constituents and forced the bill through. Fortunately, the referendum process will give the citizens of the Commonwealth an opportunity to right this wrong, despite Speaker Mariano and Senate President Spilka’s best effort to sidestep the will of their constituents.”

Here’s a summary of the proposed referendum provided to NewBostonPost by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office:

A recent UMass Amherst poll found that 46 percent of Bay Staters oppose giving driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants while 40 percent support the idea.

For more information on the initiative, go to


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