BOSTON (WWLP) – Earlier this month, a final bill was agreed upon that would give undocumented immigrants the ability to obtain a driver’s license. This bill passed the House and the Senate by a sweeping majority, but on Friday Governor Baker vetoed the legislation.
Bills similar to this one have been proposed at the State House for almost two decades. Under the legislation, undocumented immigrants applying for a licenses would need to prove their identity and residence. On top of driving, the license could be used for basic identification, needed in such things as proving age or opening up a bank account.
Supporters of the legislation believe the bill would improve road safety, strengthen relationships with law enforcement and transform lives of undocumented immigrants.
“If someone gets in an accident, they just have to pull over, and wait for the police or just exchange license and insurance, right? So it’s not like I have to run away from here because this could end up in deportation or I could be arrested and who’s going to take care of my family,” said Lenita Reason, Co-Chair of Driving Families Forward Coalition.
Governor Baker vetoed the legislation in part because he believes non-citizens could use the identification to register to vote, increasing the risk of voter fraud. The Governor also mentioned that the legislation fails to include any measure to distinguish people who demonstrate lawful presence from those who do not.
The House already announced their plan to override the veto on June 8th and Senate President Karen Spilka said the Senate will follow suit shortly thereafter.