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Immigrant driver's license repeal effort will be on ballot this November

Demonstrators display a banner and chant slogans during a rally in front of the State House, in Boston on June 9, 2022, held in support of allowing immigrants in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses in Massachusetts. (Steven Senne/AP)
Demonstrators display a banner and chant slogans during a rally in front of the State House, in Boston on June 9, 2022, held in support of allowing immigrants in the country illegally to obtain driver's licenses in Massachusetts. (Steven Senne/AP)

Massachusetts voters will decide this November whether to overturn a new law that makes undocumented immigrants eligible for driver's licenses.

The Secretary of State's office has certified the number of signatures needed to put the repeal effort on the ballot.

Under the law, called the Work and Family Mobility Act, those who entered the country illegally will be able to apply for a driver’s license with certain documents, like a foreign passport or consular identification paperwork.

Sarang Sekhavat, with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said the law benefits immigrants and society as a whole.

"Ensuring all Massachusetts drivers meet the necessary identification, registration and testing requirements for driving just simply makes the roads safer," Sekhavat said.

But Jim Lyons, chair of the state Republican Party, argues driving is a privilege, not a right.

"The rule of law matters," Lyons said. "People that are in the country illegally should not be rewarded for their behavior by getting a driver's license."

The act became a law in June after the House and Senate both voted to override Gov. Charlie Baker's veto of its passage.

If the law is not overturned by voters, it will go into effect next July.

Related:

Fausto Menard Twitter Weekend Edition Producer and All Things Considered News Writer
Fausto Menard is producer of WBUR's Weekend Edition and news writer for All Things Considered.

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