BOSTON (AP) — A bill that would allow immigrants to the country to illegally obtain state driver’s licenses landed on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk after the Massachusetts House and Senate on Thursday gave their final approval to measure.
Baker, who has expressed opposition to similar efforts, can either sign or veto the measure or return it with recommended changes. He has 10 days to act.
Both houses, dominated by Democratic lawmakers, passed the measure with margins wide enough to override a Baker veto.
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia already have similar laws.
According to the proposal, those who are in the country illegally could apply for a driver’s license if they can provide the Motor Vehicle Registry with a foreign passport or consular identification document.
The individual will also need to provide one of the following five additional documents: a driver’s license from another US state or territory; a birth certificate; a foreign national identity card; a foreign driving licence; or a marriage certificate or divorce decree from any US state or territory.
Proponents say the measure would make driving safer by requiring immigrants to prove they can drive a car properly and have obtained the necessary insurance in the event of an accident.
Critics say driving licenses are a privilege that should not be offered to those who are not legally in the country. They also argued that it could make it easier for people living in the country to vote.
The proposal would enter into force on July 1, 2023.