For undocumented immigrants, Massachusetts driver’s license law opens opportunities

Javier Luengo-Garrido, Organizing Strategist at the ACLU of Massachusetts, speaks to immigrants interested in the new Driver’s License law on May 21 in Springfield’s South Congregational Church.

By Sarah Betancourt June 26, 2023 Morning Edition – GBH

Mayra has lived in Newton for more than a decade, after first fleeing her native Mexico, and then later the man she describes as her abusive husband.

But for years, the 37-year-old undocumented immigrant has worried about driving to work as a house cleaner or taking her two children to athletic events, fearingthat she might be pulled over by police for not having a license and potentially referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. But Mayra, who requested to use only her first name due to worry of deportation, says she often is pushed to drive because of distance or cold weather.

“It’s necessary for me to drive. But I was always, always nervous. I’d see a police officer and my body would go crazy, along with my nerves,” she told GBH News recently. “And the kids too, they’d be nervous because they could sense my fear. They’d tell me, ‘Mom, drive carefully.’ ‘Mommy, there’s a police officer.’”

Mayra hopes to soon become a licensed driver in Massachusetts. She is one of more than 100,000 people the state expects to apply for a driver’s license in the next six months after a state law, called the Work and Family Mobility Act, makes learner’s permits and driver’s licenses available to undocumented immigrants in the state. The measure goes into effect on July 1.

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Source – GBH

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