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Driver's licenses for people in U.S. illegally heads to Mass. governor

BOSTON (AP) — A bill that would allow immigrants in the country illegally to obtain state driver’s licenses has landed on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk after the Massachusetts House and Senate on Thursday gave final approval to the measure.

Baker, who has expressed opposition to similar efforts, can either sign or veto the measure, or send it back with recommended changes. He has 10 days to act.

Both chambers, dominated by Democratic lawmakers, passed the measure by margins wide enough to override a Baker veto.

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws.

Under the proposal, those in the country illegally could apply for a driver’s license if they can provide the Registry of Motor Vehicles with a foreign passport or consular identification document.

The individual would also have to provide one of five additional documents: a driver’s license from another U.S. state or territory; a birth certificate; a foreign national identification card; a foreign driver’s license; or a marriage certificate or divorce decree from any U.S. state or territory.

Supporters say the measure would make driving safer by requiring immigrants show they can properly operate a car and that they have obtained the needed insurance in the event of an accident.

Critics say driver’s licenses are a privilege that should not be offered to those not in the country legally. They have also argued it could make it easier for those in the country illegally to vote.

The proposal would take effect July 1, 2023.

 

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