Immigrant driver’s licenses in Massachusetts: The people’s vote has been heard

Elections were held to grant driver’s licenses to immigrants in Massachusetts. What is the citizens’ vote?

After a long journey, on November 8th, elections took place in the state of Massachusetts. Among other things, the citizens of the state were asked to vote in favor or against granting driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Ultimately, the people’s vote delivered a positive outcome: Massachusetts gives the green light to licenses for undocumented individuals. This means that residents of the state who possess some form of identification documentation will be able to drive around the area without any obstacles.

The law will be enforced on July 1, 2023, and Massachusetts then joins 16 other states in the country and the District of Columbia that have similar regulations. This is definitely very good news for immigrants living in the state, and a step forward for civil rights in the United States.

Jaskot Law will inform you about how they reached this point, the obstacles of the law, how to obtain a license, and much more. Stay tuned!

The meandering path prior to the law

Both the Massachusetts House of Representatives and the Senate are led by a Democratic majority that sought the approval of the driver’s license law for immigrants. That’s why they were able to override a veto from Republican Governor Charlie Baker, who opposed granting licenses to undocumented individuals in Massachusetts, arguing that it could potentially promote illegal voting.

Regarding this, the Republican opposition had the idea of repealing the law through the ballot question. This is how Question No. 4 was drafted and included on the ballot, where voters decided to approve driver’s licenses for undocumented individuals.

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Woman demonstrating driver’s licenses for immigrants

What does the new legislation dictate?

With the electoral approval of this new law, those immigrants who do not have status adjustment papers but live in the United States and want to drive around Massachusetts will be able to do so. As long as they can provide the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) with a foreign passport or a consular identification document.

Furthermore, there are five other documents from which they must be able to show at least one to the RMV:

  • Driver’s license from another state or territory of the country.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Foreigner’s identity card
  • Foreign driver’s license
  • Marriage certificate or divorce decree from any state or territory in the country.

Interested parties must demonstrate that they know how to drive a vehicle correctly, i.e., they must pass a practical and a theoretical test, and they must also have automobile insurance to protect them against accidents. This is to preserve public safety in the city.

The fears of the opposition were allegedly tied to the belief that a driver’s license for undocumented individuals could facilitate illegal voting, as it serves as an equivalent to an identification document. That’s why both Charlie Baker and Massachusetts governor candidate Geoff Diehl strongly positioned themselves against it. However, despite their efforts, the law was approved thanks to the people’s vote.

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In order to drive around Massachusetts, you must pass a driving test.

For quite some time, there have been disputes and requests in this state for the implementation of this measure. Driver’s licenses symbolize independence, employment, and security for immigrants living in the United States (and in any country, really). That’s why the approval of this law in Massachusetts is something worth celebrating.

The law office of Jaskot Law is always open for all immigrants who have doubts, questions, or need legal assistance for their case. You can contact our office at +1 (410) 235-6868.