Massachusetts Law Permitting Residents to Apply for a Driver’s License regardless of Immigration Status Becomes Effective Today

Frank Soults, 860-471-5692,

Massachusetts Law Permitting Residents to Apply for a Driver’s License regardless of Immigration Status Becomes Effective Today

Appointments at RMV offices across the state to begin on Monday, July 3
BOSTON —Today marks the effective date of the Work and Family Mobility Act (WFMA), a law that allows immigrants without authorized status to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license using specific proofs of identity and of Massachusetts residency. Detailed information on the process and online registration for appointments are available through the Registry of Motor Vehicles at Applicants who have already made appointments online will begin visiting RMV offices statewide on Monday, July 3, the first regular day of business after today’s official implementation.
The Work and Family Mobility Act was enacted by the State House in June 2022, when both chambers easily overrode a veto by former governor Charlie Baker. Opponents of the law subsequently received enough signatures to place a repeal question before Massachusetts voters in the November 2022 election, but their efforts failed when voters supported the law by nearly 54%.
The Work and Family Mobility Act was created, passed, and defended at the ballot box through the efforts of Driving Families Forward, a coalition of over 270 organizations founded and co-led by the Brazilian Worker Center and Local 32BJ of the Service Employees International Union. The following statements are from the co-chairs of the Driving Families Forward coalition, Brazilian Worker Center Executive Director Lenita Reason and 32BJ Political Coordinator Chrystel Murrieta Ruiz.
Lenita Reason, Executive Director of the Brazilian Worker Center:
“I am overjoyed that the day has finally come that immigrants without authorized status will be able to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver’s license. According to the RMV’s estimates, over a quarter million immigrants will apply in coming years for the same standard license available to other state residents. It will allow them to easily register their vehicles and purchase auto insurance, and once they pass the driver’s test and get their license, they will be able to drive to the doctor, school or grocery store legally and come home safely.
“This victory was made possible because of the breadth of the coalition we began building in 2019, when State House sponsors first introduced the bill. Over the next four years,  over 270 groups came together to support the Work and Family Mobility Act, including labor organizations and local businesses, immigrant rights groups and faith-based organizations, law enforcement agencies and, of course, countless affected immigrants advocating with coalition members or in allied organizations. Furthermore, we could only build this broad, diverse coalition thanks to decades of previous attempts to pass a driver’s license law. When I began working on the issue over a decade ago, I would have benefitted from this law myself.  I am now a naturalized U.S. citizen, and I am proud to say that, starting today, the Commonwealth will be a safer place not only for immigrants, but for everyone.”
Chrystel Murrieta Ruiz, Political Coordinator at 32BJ SEIU:
 “Today, Massachusetts officially becomes one of 19 states to allow immigrants without status to get a driver’s license. We join with all our partners –and with the 20,000 members of 32BJ SEIU in Massachusetts, the majority of them immigrants and people of color – in celebrating this historic achievement. We offer our deepest thanks to Registrar Colleen Ogilvie and her team at the RMV, Attorney General Andrea Campbell and her office, and Governor Maura Healey and her administration, each of whom has partnered with us openly and thoughtfully on the many facets of implementation. We also thank all our coalition partners, as well as the many consulates, legal experts and others who also have been working to successfully implement the WFMA, with a special thanks to the Driving Families Forward legal team of David Albright and Julia Schlozman from JALSA, and Laura Rótolo of the ACLU.
“No doubt, the Work and Family Mobility Act is historic for being the first major piece of legislation in Massachusetts to directly benefit immigrants without authorized status. But its passage at the State House and defense at the ballot box may not have been possible if so many officials and voters hadn’t come to understand that the WFMA also benefits everyone in the commonwealth. Voters not only approved it directly at the ballot box, they also kept in office every single legislator who had voted for it in the state legislature. This achievement can now pave the way for other pro-immigrant bills on Beacon Hill – bills that will benefit our families, neighbors, classmates, coworkers, and other fellow residents whose work supports so many essential services in the Commonwealth. At a time when too many politicians and pundits are pinning their national ambitions on anti-immigrant attacks, the implementation of the Work and Family Mobility Act demonstrates that we can keep moving this nation toward its stated ideals of liberty and justice for all, community by community and state by state.”
Visit @DrivingFamiliesForward on Facebook and @DrivingMA4ward on Twitter.
Passage of the Work and Family Mobility Act was endorsed by over 270 businesses and organizations:
ACLU Massachusetts
ADL New England
Alliance for Business Leadership
American Friends Service Committee Northeast Regional Office
Anti-Defamation League
Asian American Resource Workshop
Berkshire Interfaith Organizing
Black Ministerial Alliance
The Boston Foundation
Brazilian Women’s Group
Brazilian Workers Center
Business Innovation Center
Cambridge Police Department
Cape Ann Local Action Network
Cape Cod Coalition for Safe Communities
Cape Verdean Association of Boston
Catholic Charities
Catholic Social Services of Fall River
Center to Support Immigrant Organizing (CSIO)
Centro Comunitario de los Trabajadores
Centro Presente
Coalition for Social Justice
Community Economic Development Center
Congress Insurance
Dominican Development Center, Inc.
Episcopal City Mission
Essex County Community Organization
Executive Committee of the Mattapoisett Democratic Committee
Field First, LLC
Gomez & Palumbo, LLC
Greater Andover Indivisible
Greater Haverhill Indivisible
Green-Rainbow Party
Haitian Comm. Faith Leader
Health and Law Immigrant Solidarity Network
Immigrants’ Assistance Center, Inc.
Indivisible Mystic Valley
The Irish International Immigrant Center (now Rian Immigrant Center)
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action
Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston
Justice at Work
Justice Center of Southeast MA
La Comunidad, Inc.
Latinos unidos en Massachusetts
League of Women Voters – MA
Main Street Alliance
Mass Business Immigration Coalition
Mass Interfaith Worker Justice
Massa Viana Law
Massachusetts Jobs With Justice
Mattapoisett Democratic Committee
Merrimack Valley Project
MIRA Coalition
Movimiento Cosecha
National Association of Social Workers
New England Bangladeshi American Foundation Inc
New England Justice for Our Neighbors
North Parish of North Andover UU Racial Justice Team
Open Door Immigration Services
Parenting Journey
The Paulist Center Immigrant Advocacy Group
Pioneer Valley Interfaith Refugee Action Group
Pioneer Valley Project
Pioneer Valley Workers Center
Progressive Democrats of Mass.
Progressive Massachusetts
Rosie’s Place
Salem Chamber of Commerce
Salem No Place for Hate
SEIU 509
SEIU 1199
SEIU Massachusetts State Council
Solidarity Lowell
Student Immigrant Movement
Temple Anshe Amunim
TPS Committee
Unitarian Universalist Mass Action
Unitarian-Universalist Society of Fairhaven
United Interfaith Action of Southeastern Massachusetts
United Workers Association, Region 9a
The Welcome Project
Western MA Jobs with Justice
Western Mass Area Labor Federation
Women Encouraging Empowerment

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