The Work and Family Mobility Act In Effect July 1st, 2023


Alina Fairlie, Herald Staff

The Work and Family Mobility Act was recently passed, allowing undocumented immigrants to become eligible for drivers licenses. It is expected to go into effect on July 1st, 2023. The law will limit the RMV’s ability to inquire about immigration papers and withhold documents related to immigration status.

This law has raised some controversy, and will appear on the November statewide ballot (Ballot Question 4). 

Governor Charlie Baker had originally vetoed this law, saying it would not allow the RMV to properly verify people’s identity. He also worried that people who were not US citizens would be registered to vote. Baker noted that if passed, the law would ensure that immigrants were not immediately registered. His decision was overridden by the Senate.

Those advocating to repeal the law believe that it is encouraging illegal immigration and is ultimately a public safety concern. Jay McMahon, the Republican attorney general nominee, wondered about the law, stating, “And when they come here illegally, we want to know why are they coming here illegally? Why don’t they go through the proper points of entry?” This is showing points of concern with how allowing undocumented immigration may become a safety hazard, and how the law may easily be abused.

There is also a risk that immigrant driver’s license records will be used to track them, adding to the list of concerns they may have. 

Despite the new law, undocumented immigrants looking to apply for a drivers license will still need certain forms to qualify. Those in favor of the law have safety in mind. Immigrants will have to take and pass a road test, following the same regulations as other US citizens. 

Obtaining a driver’s license would make life much easier for immigrants who are struggling to live in the US. Completing daily tasks would be much more efficient, and improve their everyday lives. It would also make them more likely to report accidents and cooperate with officers, as they would not have to worry about immigration enforcement.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey has openly agreed with the passing of this law and supports people getting their license regardless of immigration status. On the other hand, Republican candidate Geoff Diehl advocates for the law to be repealed, arguing that the RMV can not ensure all immigrants’ identities will be verified. 

Voting on Ballot Question 4 is crucial in deciding if immigrants will be granted rights and restrictions equal to those of other US citizens.