Massachusetts

Mass. Bill Would Allow Undocumented Immigrants a Driver's License

Currently 16 states and the district of Columbia allow unauthorized immigrants to get driver's licenses

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Adilson is a South Shore landscaper who needs to drive to get to work. But the married father of two is undocumented and unable to get a driver's license. 

"You never know the cops pull you over. He’ll give you a ticket and a criminal action. And give you deportation," he explained.

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Thousands of unauthorized state residents are thrilled to hear a bill is up for debate next week that would allow the undocumented to get a driver's license.

"They can go through the road testing, their vehicles can be insured and that protects all the other drivers," House Transportation Chair William Straus, D-10th Bristol, said.

Straus said the unauthorized could provide a combination of documents that prove their identities such as a passport, birth certificate or marriage license.

But Rep. David DeCoste, R - 5th Plymouth, believes it is not a good idea.

"This basically will be providing licenses to people who should not be here and who did not follow our laws," he said.

House leaders are working toward a veto-proof majority given Gov. Charlie Baker’s opposition to a similar bill in 2019.

Straus said the bill has been modified since then.

"When he sees that we have met his public safety threshold here, I’m hopeful he’ll sign it."

For Adilson, the vote on the bill can’t come soon enough.

"We live in this country 21 years. Twenty-one years. And it’s hard for me. Because I love this country."

Currently 16 states and the district of Columbia allow unauthorized immigrants to get driver's licenses. 

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