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Two coalitions, two views on immigrants and driver’s licenses

House Speaker Ronald Mariano signed a ceremonial bill at the State House in Boston on July 13. The law would allow undocumented residents to apply for a driver's license.Carlin Stiehl

Work and Family Mobility Act deserves our support

As Marcela García noted in her Aug. 23 Opinion column, “Fear and loathing of immigrants drives license ballot question,” Massachusetts residents may decide the fate of the Work and Family Mobility Act this fall, voting on whether individuals may acquire driver’s licenses regardless of immigration status. We firmly believe that voters should support this law.

One of the greatest perks of providing driver’s licenses to individuals regardless of immigration status is increased public safety. By making driver’s licenses more widely available, the state ensures that all drivers take the same road test, understand the same rules of the road, and become properly registered and insured. Increased public safety is one of the prime reasons police chiefs and district attorneys across Massachusetts have supported this reform.


But providing driver’s licenses to individuals regardless of immigration status has many other benefits. Drivers would probably experience lower insurance premiums as more drivers acquire auto insurance. The state would also benefit financially, since more drivers will pay license fees.

Beacon Hill passed the Work and Family Mobility Act this year because of benefits like these. If this issue does come before voters in November, we will stand alongside our allies and tirelessly support this law.

Elizabeth Sweet

Executive director

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition


Concern over illegal immigration is a bipartisan issue

I’m co-chair of the Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Reform, an organization advocating for reduced immigration to the United States. We are a coalition of 240 members (35 percent Democrats and 65 percent Republicans). Concern over immigration is a bipartisan issue.

When I read Marcela García’s columns on this subject, I think about how the right has distorted the image of immigrants seeking to enter this country illegally, vilifying them as less human than citizens. At the same time, García vilifies thoughtful people who want to protect the United States. Many Massachusetts residents oppose driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants and favor enforcement of immigration laws.


If García seeks to understand opposition to immigration, we invite her to meet with us. She may be surprised that civil rights, the unfair racial and economic effect of immigration on overall wages, and the environment top our list of concerns that drive us to seek limits to immigration. For example we just won a step in court demanding that the federal government pass any immigration policies through the lens of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Steve Kropper