Nov. 8: Vote Early if you are a US Citizen and Reasons to Vote Yes on Question 4
Our immigration lawyers and legal staff at FitzGerald Law Company, would like to encourage everyone who is a U.S. citizen and has the privilege to be allowed to vote, to vote conscientiously and early on Tuesday November 8, 2022. In addition, we invite everyone who is a resident of Massachusetts to seriously consider voting Yes on Question 4.
Question 4, asks voters whether to uphold a new law that allows immigrants without legal status to apply for a MA driver’s license. This law passed by the MA legislature in 2022 affects not our immigrant community but for all of us who live in Massachusetts and society in general.
Public safety demands that we vote Yes on question 4, and this is why it is supported by most of our law enforcement organizations. Eliminating the immigration documentation requirements from a standard “Non-Real ID” license will allow thousand of residents of Massachusetts to obtain licenses, properly insure their vehicles, pay excise taxes on their vehicles, and have their driving records available for inspection like all other drivers licensed in our state.
This law will also dramatically reduce the number of hours that our law enforcement personnel, prosecutors, judges and courts spend on the citations and criminal proceedings related to “operating without a license” cases, and instead allow them to pursue more important matters.
Other benefits of allowing all residents to obtain driver’s licenses include improving road safety and accountability by requiring driving classes to obtain licenses and reducing hit and run crashes; generating state revenue from excise taxes and jobs for the RMV; and increased economic activity and growth allowing easier access to more businesses both for consumption and employment.
Those who oppose the Yes vote claim that the registry is not prepared to verify foreign identity documents, however the registry has been verifying foreign documents for students and non-immigrant visa holders since the agency was first formed so they are more than capable to do this.
They also argue that providing these licenses will allow non-us citizens to register to vote and commit fraud, however this is far from true. The RMV only sends voter registration information to the local election officials when the applicant has provided them with a U.S. birth certificate, a U.S. passport, or naturalization papers. This measure prevents undocumented person from being registered to vote at the RMV, and the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, has confirmed that additional checks conducted by local election official are also in place.
A third argument is that allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain drivers licenses would be unfair to those who came legally into the country. However, this will not be unfair to them as they will also benefit from the increased road and public safety resulting from licensed drivers and unburdened law enforcement officers.
19 states (including MA) already have a “Non-Real ID” license option, which does not require documentation to prove legal immigration status and are already reaping the benefits. Massachusetts should strive to be another positive example to follow on this commonsense law.
Please forward this to your U.S. citizen friends in Massachusetts so that they have a better understanding of why it is advantageous for all in our state to vote Yes on question 4.
As always, if you, a friend or loved one needs legal help with an immigration, criminal defense or personal injury matter, please do not hesitate to contact our law office and set an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers at: 617-303-2600, or fill out our online appointment request. We will be happy to help.