Sharing the Road: A chance to boost safety and economic prosperity in the Commonwealth
Massachusetts is home to nearly 185,000 undocumented immigrants who form a crucial part of its workforce. But obstacles exist that prevent them from fully contributing to the Bay State economy. Providing undocumented immigrants with driver's licenses would boost the state's economy, lower premiums for other motorists, and make the Commonwealth's roads safer.
Our latest report, Sharing the Road, outlines the economic benefits of allowing all drivers to obtain licenses regardless of their immigration status. In the Commonwealth, undocumented immigrants drive to work, take their kids to school, and shop for groceries every day. But they face the constant risk of being pulled over and arrested for driving without licenses. Sharing the Road also chronicles the personal story of one undocumented Massachusetts resident who must navigate transportation without the benefit of a license.
New MassBudget Report: "Sharing The Road"
"It's economically sensible, and simply the right thing to do, to permit undocumented residents in the Commonwealth to obtain driver's licenses," said Marie-Frances Rivera, president of MassBudget. "Licensing drivers without documents not only allows them and their families to access basic necessities, it also allows employers to access more qualified workers in our tight labor market."
The report also finds that:
Permitting undocumented Massachusetts residents to access licenses could generate $6 million in initial state revenue within the first three years of implementation.
Granting undocumented drivers access to licenses could reduce insurance premiums for all motorists, by about $20 per year. A change permitting undocumented residents to obtain licenses would also generate an estimated $62 million for insurance companies.
Public safety would improve. Licensing undocumented drivers ensures they are tested for basic knowledge of rules of the road and are less fearful of reporting crimes and crashes to law enforcement officers.
14 other states, D.C., and Puerto Rico currently allow all drivers, regardless of immigration status, to obtain licenses.
The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) produces policy research, analysis, and data-driven recommendations focused on improving the lives of low- and middle-income children and adults, strengthening our state's economy, and enhancing the quality of life in Massachusetts.
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