By Bob Katzen

A jam-packed Transportation Committee hearing was held on bills that would grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants. Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield) and Rep. Christine Barber (D-Somerville) are the chief sponsors of the proposals that would permit all qualified residents, regardless of immigration status, to apply for and receive a standard state driver’s license.

“This is a public safety bill,” said Farley-Bouvier. “The passage of this bill will mean that all drivers in the commonwealth will be trained, will be licensed and will be insured. When all drivers are trained, licensed and insured, all drivers, all passengers, all cyclists … and pedestrians are safer.”

“Let me be perfectly clear … passing these bills will make it even easier for criminal illegal aliens to evade law enforcement and victimize law-abiding U.S. citizens and Massachusetts residents,” testified Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson. “Making illegal immigrants eligible for official Massachusetts driver’s licenses is not only wrong, but it’s reckless.”

“In addition to safer roads, opening up the door for more drivers to obtain licenses can mean more state revenue,” concluded researchers at the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. “If Massachusetts chooses to issue driver’s licenses to all drivers, regardless of immigration status, an estimated 41,000 to 78,000 drivers would obtain new licenses within three years. This could generate $3.1 million to $5.8 million just in initial license fees collected by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

“This legislation would make Massachusetts a target for even more fraud than it already experiences,” said Jim Lyons, chairman of the Republican State Committee, in a press release. “The message the radical Democrats are sending is that it’s OK to break our laws. There are more than 275,000 individuals living here illegally, and apparently the Democrats believe that their benefits outweigh the benefits of those who are abiding by the law.”

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