Massachusetts voters will have the opportunity to decide whether the state should reject a new law allowing immigrants in the country to illegally obtain state driver’s licenses.
The Commonwealth’s office secretary announced late Friday that he had certified the signatures needed to put the repeal of the law on the November ballot.
The measure became law after the Democratic-controlled Massachusetts House and Senate overrode a veto by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker in June.
With the repeal of the law, Massachusetts joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia that have similar laws.
The drive to repeal the new law is largely led by the state Republican Party.
The law was a victory for immigrant rights groups who had long pushed for the measure, presenting it in part as a public safety measure, noting that those seeking a license would have to show they could drive properly and obtain insurance on accident case. accident.
Maureen Maloney, whose son Matthew Denis was killed in 2011 after being illegally hit and pulled by a driver in the country, is helping to lead the repeal effort.
“It’s simple and clear: issuing Massachusetts driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants is a bad idea,” Maloney, who leads the Fair and Secure Massachusetts group, said in a recent email. “We are a country of rules and laws, and these rules and laws must be respected if we are to live together in harmony.”
Maloney said the new law puts an undue burden on the Motor Vehicle Registry; damages the integrity of state elections by creating a back door for non-citizens to vote; and is illegally issuing licenses to people in the country, potentially leading to more unnecessary deaths.
Supporters of the new law say it will make roads safer for everyone.
“The Work and Family Mobility Act will mean that all drivers, regardless of immigration status, will abide by the same traffic rules, pass the same road tests and have the same insurance requirements,” said Elizabeth Sweet, executive director state of Massachusetts. Coalition for the Advocacy of the Interests of Immigrants and Refugees.
“While it is disappointing that guerrilla forces are trying to overturn this law and compromise public safety to earn cheap political points, our broad coalition is ready for debate and the upcoming campaign,” she added in a written statement.
This issue is the subject of controversy in the upcoming gubernatorial elections.
Republican candidate Jeff Diehl advocated repeal, partly arguing that the State Motor Vehicle Registry lacks the ability to verify the identity of immigrants who are in the country illegally.
Attorney General Maura Healy, the Democratic nominee for governor, said she supports allowing undocumented citizens to get a state driver’s license regardless of immigration status.
Baker argued in his veto letter to lawmakers that the new law would greatly increase the risk of non-citizens being registered to vote.
Under the new law, those who are in the country illegally will be able to apply for a driver’s license if they can provide the Motor Vehicle Registry with a foreign passport or consular identity document.
They will also be required to provide one of five additional documents: a driver’s license from another US state or territory; birth certificate; identity card of a foreign citizen; foreign driver’s license; or a marriage certificate or divorce decree from any state or territory in the United States.
The new law is due to enter into force on July 1, 2023.
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