Protesters push bill to expand access to driver’s licenses


BOSTON, Mass. (AP) — Protesters are planning to gather on the steps of the Massachusetts Statehouse on Saturday to call on state lawmakers to pass legislation that would let all those living in Massachusetts to obtain driver’s licenses, including those in the country illegally.

Supporters say many families in Massachusetts fear detention and deportation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement every time they get in a car — a situation they say undermines everyone’s safety in a pandemic.

Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has opposed allowing individuals other than legal residents to obtain drivers licenses, saying it’s unclear how you can verify the identity of someone who does not have proper documents.

Protesters plan to gather at the Haymarket Registry of Motor Vehicles offices on Blackstone Street in Boston at about 2 p.m. and march to the Statehouse. Scheduled speakers include Democratic U.S. Sen. Edward Markey.

Protesters say expanding the pool of those eligible for standard drivers licenses would help slow the spread of the coronavirus by allowing workers to avoid crowded carpools and public transportation to get to work or school.

They also argue that the bill could increase state revenues as more residents pay for driver’s tests and car insurance.

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