Western Mass News photo

NORTHAMPTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Dozens gathered at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center in Northampton this morning voicing their support of a bill that would allow anyone, regardless of immigration status, the ability to obtain a drivers license.

Western Mass News dug deeper into what this legislation means for law enforcement and families here in western Mass.

Local and state leaders, members of faith and law enforcement came together Tuesday in support of driving families forward.

The Work and Family Mobility Act would allow all qualified state residents to apply for a standard Massachusetts driver's license, no matter their immigrant status.

New Jersey recently became the fifteenth state to pass similar legislation.

Several families explained why they hope Massachusetts is next, including Springfield resident Hodaliz Borrayes.

"So for me, it’s very important that I speak Spanish and I can speak Spanish for my people here who can understand me. Again, licenses are something that we have a right to have. Often, my people, my community are pulled over unfairly, they’re radically profiled and then they get caught up in the immigrant system," Borrayes explained.

Northampton Police Chief Jody Kasper told Western Mass News this bill would make a positive impact on law enforcement.

"I can’t speak for all of the law enforcement, but for myself, when I consider this I focus on three things, testing, insurance, and identification. We want drivers on the road to be tested, we want them all to have insurance and we certainly want to know when we pull someone over who they are," Chief Kasper explained.

The bill is currently being considered by the legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation.

For it to be considered for a vote by the full legislative body, the bill must be moved out of the committee by February 5.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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