Critical Access to Driver’s Licenses for Immigrants and for All
May 5th, 2022
The year 2021 is increasingly looking like the year that we leave behind many damaging Trump-era policies, including his public charge regulation, and welcome new policies, such as the designation of Venezuela for Temporary Protected Status (TPS). It remains to be seen how much of President Biden’s immigration agenda will be realized, but his administration’s actions and statements since he took office a mere 76 days ago show that change at the federal level is not only on the way, it is happening.
As encouraging as the federal government’s outlook has become, it is also important to keep an eye on the state government, which regulates critical matters such as who is eligible for a driver’s license. Having a valid license is incredibly important (not only to the person obtaining the license but for entire communities as cars cannot be insured without a driver’s license), and a privilege that we know has been out of reach for many immigrants for several years. In Massachusetts, lawmakers have renewed their efforts to pass a law that would grant driver’s licenses to people regardless of their immigration status. Co-sponsored by no less than 88 of the 160 members of the House of Representatives, this is the second time that such a bill has been introduced in less than 3 years. If the most recent bill is passed (An Act relative to work and family mobility during and subsequent to the COVID-19 emergency), it will provide invaluable relief to the immigrant community, which continues to contribute to our society in every way despite the pandemic.
Additionally, as USCIS continues to work on its backlogs, a problem that was exacerbated by the Trump administration, most individuals applying to renew their work permits continue to receive automatic 180-day extensions. Considering the lengthy processing times, this 180-day extension can prove invaluable not only with respect to employment, but also with respect to driver’s licenses. As detailed in our newsletter last year , if the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) fails to apply the 180-day extension to your driver’s license, there is a process by which you can appeal this error.
The litigation attorneys of FitzGerald Law Company understand the incredible value and importance of having a driver’s license, and we will continue to keep an eye on the bill introduced by the Massachusetts Legislature. We remain available to assist individuals experiencing difficulty with the RMV and any immigration, criminal or personal injury matter.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers please call our office at: (617) 303-2600 or fill out your appointment request online. The benefits of an appointment include learning about your legal options, obtaining a better understanding of the risks you face and helping you make well informed decisions about your legal matter. Our bilingual team of legal professionals is here to help.