Advocates Celebrate 1 Year Of Work And Family Mobility Act On Beacon Hill

Photo: Jay Willett/WBZ NewsRadio

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Advocates, lawmakers, and other supporters of the Work and Family Mobility Act gathered on Beacon Hill on Monday to celebrate a year of the law going into effect.

The WFMA allows eligible Massachusetts residents to be able to get a standard driver’s license regardless of immigration status.

Going into effect July 2023, it removed the requirement that customers provide proof of lawful presence in the U.S. to receive a driver’s license.

Applicants now only need to prove their identity to the Registry of Motor Vehicles with their date of birth, social security status, and Massachusetts residency.

Since the WFMA went into law, the RMV has issued 183,825 new learner’s permits and 128,079 new driver’s licenses.

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One of the drivers who has benefited from the WFMA spoke at the one-year anniversary celebration on Beacon Hill on Monday.

“I stand here before you to mark this momentous occasion, which signifies a significant milestone for many individuals and families across our state,” she said.

“It also meant being able to help my family, especially my mom, with what would seem like mundane tasks to others but, for us, were truly challenges.”

Lawmakers were also in attendance, like State Rep. Christine Barber.

 “This is how change happens: by bringing together diverse coalitions and listening to each other,” she said.

The goal of the WFMA is to “mak[e] sure people can drive to get to work, to get their children to school, to go to the doctor, to buy groceries. And we have now done that,” added Barber.

Pittsfield RMV Representative Karen Murray was also in attendance, and she shared insight into the RMV’s implementation process.

“We have all the tools to make sure customers are being taken care of [like] language services [and] translated paperwork,” she said.

RMV permit tests are offered in 35 languages, and phone and in-person assistance are available in 100 languages.

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The RMV has worked directly with immigration advocacy groups, nonprofits, and impacted communities as part of their public outreach commitment and to gain feedback on implementing the WFMA.

“In the year since this law was passed, we have seen the real-life results of years of advocacy and perseverance: Tens of thousands of people who are now able to safely and reliably drive to work, bring their children to school, get to medical appointments on time, support their families and communities, and more,” said Field Director of the ACLU of Massachusetts Laura Rótolo in a press release on Monday.

“The Work and Family Mobility Act has made our roads safer, our economy stronger, and improved the quality of life for thousands of our residents,” said Gov. Maura Healey.

“I’m grateful for the hard work of our RMV employees to make the first year of implementation such a success, as well as for the advocates, elected officials and public safety leaders who made it possible for us to get here.”

WBZ NewsRadio's Jay Willett (@JayWillettWBZ) reports.

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