Massachusetts state lawmakers voted to override a veto from Republican Governor Charlie Baker, making it legal for illegal immigrants in Massachusetts to obtain a driver’s license.
The Democrat-controlled chambers passed the bill, H.4805, known as the Work and Family Mobility Act, allowing individuals without legal status to apply for a driver’s license if they’re able to show proof of identity and residency in Massachusetts.
A day after the state House voted 119-36 on the measure, dubbed the Work and Family Mobility Act, the state Senate voted 32-8.
Touting the move, State House Speaker Ron Mariano on Wednesday (June 8), expressed that lawmakers believe the legislation will “increase safety on our roads by ensuring that everyone has access to a driver’s license, regardless of immigration status.
But following the passage of the bill, Baker vetoed it, writing in a letter to the House that the move “undoes a critical safeguard to the driver’s license issuance process,” adding that the Registry of Motor Vehicles didn’t have the expertise or ability to verify many types of documents from other countries.
After Baker’s veto, Senate President Karen Spilka defended the bill in a tweet, saying, “We are a nation of immigrants. We all benefit from increased public safety,” adding that “everyone deserves to feel safe and get to work, pick up children and be a part of their communities without fear. The @ma_senate looks forward to overriding this misguided decision.”
The legislation enables those illegally in the country to provide a passport or another form of consular identification to apply for a driver’s license.