Work and Family Mobility Act
Equal Access to Drivers Licenses for our Immigrant Neighbors
Think about the last time you went to work, visited the doctor, took your children to school, or picked up groceries for dinner. How did you get there? If you're like many of us in the Berkshires, you drove.
Now imagine... How would you have done it all if you couldn't drive a car?
If you don't think you could manage for more than a day or two, you're not alone. A full 78% of Massachusetts workers age 16 and older get to work by car, truck or van.
Without a vehicle or license, reliable transportation becomes a barrier to work and social life. This is especially true for undocumented immigrants, who currently cannot obtain a Massachusetts drivers license.
Just like us, undocumented immigrants work and take their children to school.
However, they live with the fear of detention or deportation every time they get behind the wheel.
Ironically, many must also attend court dates and ICE check-ins, where missing an appointment can make or break a case for citizenship.
Our rich cultural fabric and growing economy also depend on their ability to get where they need to go. In 2016, undocumented immigrants contributed $8.8 billion to the Massachusetts economy, and they paid an estimated $184.6 million in state and local taxes.
For these humanitarian and economic reasons, our Berkshire legislators support The Work and Family Mobility Act (H.3012 / S.2061). The Act was co-sponsored by Massachusetts State Representatives Tricia Farley-Bouvier and Christine Barber, as well as Massachusetts Senator Brendan Crighton.
The Act would enable all qualified state residents to apply for a standard Massachusetts Drivers License, regardless of immigration status, while keeping our Commonwealth in full compliance with REAL ID requirements.
BIO, as part of the Driving Families Forward Coalition, fully supports the Act as a way to empower our immigrant neighbors to live independent lives and contribute to the success of the Berkshires. And it's a way to protect our community members while making sure that all our state’s drivers pass the same test and understand the rules of the road.
Taking Urgent Action
After the Massachusetts Major Cities Chiefs of Police Association (MMCCPA) endorsed the Act on January 21st, BIO joined the Driving Families Forward Coalition in building support in the Berkshires.
The goal was to win endorsements from Berkshire officials, in time for the February 5th deadline for the bill to come "out of committee," a requirement for it to be voted on during this year's legislative session.
We were able to secure endorsements from public officials such as Pittsfield's Mayor Tyer, North Adams' Mayor Bernard, and Reps. Mark and Pignatelli.
We are glad to announce that the bill was referred favorably out of committee! We're currently working to extend our reach statewide in coordination with other members of the Driving Families Forward Coalition.
More Resources / Mas Recursos
Fact Sheet // English
Fact Sheet // For Businesses
Endorsing Organizations // One-Pager
Endorsing Organizations // Master List
Hoja de Hechos // Español