The legal impact on driver’s licenses for illegals


FILE – In this May 14, 2014, file photo, Ted Cardenas, a marketing vice president with Pioneer Electronics, demonstrates the new Apple CarPlay powered by Pioneer, featuring Siri voice control, while navigating through the Financial District in San Francisco. Car infotainment systems that use voice commands may let drivers keep their hands on the wheel, […]

AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Lawmakers are considering a bill to give illegal immigrants a drivers license.

The way the law is now, you have to give a social security number, proof of visa status and a passport to get a license. A bill on beacon hill aims to give illegal immigrants in Massachusetts a drivers license. According to the state, there’s an estimated 60,000 undocumented immigrants between the ages of 25 and 34 who are already driving in Massachusetts, without a license. Supporters of the bill say it would make it easier for immigrants to get insured, and they may be less likely to leave the area of an accident.

“I’m for that, as long as they have drivers ed training and they go through the proper channels that we all have to go through to get a license,” said Jennifer Froebo of Easthampton.

Others say a driver’s license can be used as a tool that can be abused by illegal immigrants. 22News visited immigration law professor Rebecca Hamlin of UMass.

She’s says giving undocumented immigrants a drivers license won’t put more illegals on the road.

“Passing this law wouldn’t put them out on the roads for the first time…they’re out there and driving uninsured and unlicensed so the only thing it would do would be to acknowledge and legalize what they’re already doing,” said Hamlin.

State lawmakers say many undocumented immigrants still want to go to driving school.

Elizabeth Soloaka of Northampton said, “I feel like as long as people are able to drive they can drive. If they are here in this country and they are here illegally, then why shouldn’t they be able to get around. Why should they rely on friends or transportation?”

States like Connecticut and California already have similar laws that give licenses to illegal immigrants. So far, 50 Massachusetts lawmakers support this bill.

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