BOSTON – With a new legislative session in Massachusetts and a new administration in Washington, the Driving Families Forward Coalition held a press conference today to relaunch publicly the Work & Family Mobility Act, a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to apply for a regular Massachusetts driver’s license.
Recently reintroduced in the State House as HD.448 and SD.273, the bill has now been officially renamed “An Act Relative to Work and Family Mobility During and Subsequent to the COVID-19 Emergency.”
The group stated why the name change was made.
“The renaming emphasizes the unique way that the bill strengthens public health, allowing tens of thousands of Massachusetts residents to avoid carpools and public transportation while also improving their access to testing and vaccination, even as more threatening strains of the coronavirus advance across the country.”
The bill would fully comply with the REAL ID requirement. Speakers included the four principal bill sponsors in the House and Senate, Framingham Mayor Yvonne Spicer, Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan, as well as impacted community members, business leaders, and health and agricultural experts. The event MCs were Driving Families Forward co-chairs Natalicia Tracy, Executive Director of the Brazilian Workers Center, and Dalida Rocha, Massachusetts Political Director at 32BJ SEIU.
According to DFFC, by the latest conservative estimates, about 185,000 undocumented immigrants live in Massachusetts. If the bill were enacted, an estimated 41,000 to 78,000 immigrant drivers would obtain licenses within the first three years of implementation.
The group feels they have the momentum to get the bill passed.
“Momentum is building across the country for the disentanglement of state driving privileges and federal immigration enforcement. Sixteen states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. now offer undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. As Congressional leaders introduce immigration reform bills and President Biden seeks to undo the damage done by the former administration, speakers at the press conference demonstrated why now is the time for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to join the support for immigrant rights — and advance the health, safety and economic well-being of all state residents — by passing the Work and Family Mobility Act.”