BOSTON - Governor Charlie Baker is taking action today to ensure that the latest state budget does not allow illegal immigrants to obtain any kind of identification, including a drivers' license. The FY17 state budget proposal includes language that brings Massachusetts in compliance with the federal REAL ID program to keep us safe. The Governor's amendment - which mirrors an amendment offered by the Senate GOP leader - ensures this program will not be used to allow IDs to be granted to illegal immigrants.
Gov amendment nixes licenses for illegals
By Matt Stout
Gov. Charlie Baker plans to file language he says will keep illegal immigrants from getting driver’s licenses under an amendment tucked into the state’s $39.1 billion budget.
A dispute — raised last week by the budget agreement passed by state lawmakers — centers on the state’s mandate to meet standards under a federal law passed in 2005, which ramps up the qualifications for residents to get a state driver’s license and is intended to prevent terrorists from using the IDs to enter federal buildings or board planes.
The new language Baker will file is a clarification, according to his office, to ensure “illegal immigrants do not obtain either type of license under the new system.” Lawmakers passed the budget on June 30, giving Baker 10 days to decide whether to sign it, veto it or amend parts of it. His amendment adds one line: “No license of any type may be issued to any person who does not have lawful presence in the United States.”
“As the commonwealth works to comply with new standards set by the federal government for credential-holders, it is imperative that we provide greater security and ensure that new licenses are only obtained by individuals with proper documentation, including proof of lawful presence,” Baker said.
“This amendment eliminates any question that all applicants must show proof of lawful presence, an immigration status recognized by the Department of Homeland Security, to the Registrar to legally obtain a REAL ID-compliant license or a Massachusetts license.”
Seth Gitell, a spokesman for Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo, said the Winthrop Democrat “supports this language, which will enable Massachusetts to comply with federal law.”
A spokesman for Senate President Stanley C. Rosenberg couldn’t be reached last night.
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