LatinaLista -- Massachusetts state legislators are about to become the unlikely allies of such states as Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma -- all that have passed punitive laws targeting undocumented immigrants.
[caption id="attachment_13079" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="New Mexico is one of three states that doesn't require citizenship in granting driver's licenses."][/caption]
The reason why Massachusetts legislators are more than willing to wade back into the volatile issue is because of an accident that should not have happened. An Ecuadorian immigrant who lives in the small town of Millford was driving drunk when he hit and killed a motorcyclist.
Now, state legislators want to pass laws to join the anti-immigrant parade.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers has filed a bill to stiffen penalties and curb benefits for immigrants living here illegally.
The bill would increase fines for anyone driving without a license and make it harder for people without licenses to register their cars.
Unfortunately, the idea that undocumented immigrants won't buy a car or drive without a license when they have families whose children need to get to school, someone has to go to the doctor, trips to the grocery store are a necessity, etc. makes passing such a bill a fruitless exercise and a waste of time.
Even more, it won't keep people from driving drunk.
The only way to keep all people safe on the roads is to ensure that all have the education to know what the laws and its consequences are for violating them. A driver's license ensures a person is familiar with the laws because they will be tested on it. In turn, they're more likely to buy car insurance, which keeps everyone's costs down. Also, having a license will count as their legal form of identity.
With no other official form of identity, most undocumented immigrants would do whatever it takes to safeguard that license -- which hopefully means not driving drunk.
Any law that is passed with the intention of depriving transportation from a segment of the population that relies on it just as much as the rest of the population is an unrealistic approach to a serious problem.
Working against the undocumented immigrant community has never achieved the results envisioned by politicians or law enforcement. It's only when politics is taken out of the equation that reality can set in and common sense dictate action.