Massachusetts Governor Vetoes Bill that Would Give Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Immigrants

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Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker on Friday vetoed a bill that would make illegal immigrants eligible to receive state-issued driver’s licenses, though state lawmakers are poised to override the veto.

“I cannot sign this legislation because it requires the Registry of Motor Vehicles to issue state credentials to people without the ability to verify their identity,” Baker wrote in a letter to the state legislature.

The Republican governor added that the RMV “does not have the expertise or ability to verify the validity of many types of documents from other countries,” as the measure would require.

He also expressed concern that the bill “significantly increases the risk that noncitizens will be registered to vote” given that there would not be any way to tell the difference between a standard driver’s license and one assigned to an illegal immigrant. Part of the bill would restrict the RMV from sharing citizenship information with parties who register people to vote.

However, the state House plans to override the veto during its next formal session on June 8, according to Boston Globe reporter Samantha Gross. Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the state Senate president said the chamber also plans to override the veto, but did not say when.

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