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Massachusetts activists strive for drivers’ licenses for illegals

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One of the largest immigrant advocacy groups in the Northeast has turned to the power of the online petition and painted a tale of woe about a mother who's in the country unlawfully and can't get her daughter to the doctor as a means of convincing Massachusetts lawmakers to give drivers' licenses to illegals.

The petition from the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, or MIRA, is pushing for passage of what lawmakers have dubbed the Safe Driving Bill — the legislative means of giving illegals access to drivers' licenses and the accompanying road training that goes with it, The Associated Press reported. Currently state law requires applicants to prove they're in the country legally.

MIRA is using a mother's trials to ratchet up support.

The online petition includes a story from Valdirene Oliveira, a Brazilian resident who has lived in the United States illegally for 10 years and struggles to transport her daughter Alicy, 7, who has spina bifida, to the doctor.

In Ms. Oliveira's words: "I need a driver's license to take Alicy to the doctor, to school and to her physical therapy. However, I cannot get one because of my immigration status. Every day, I face a horrible dilemma: Is it more important that my daughter get the medical treatment she needs, or that I don't run the risk of being taken from her and deported for driving without a license?"

So far, the petition has received around 2,000 signers.

Massachusetts legislators are due to debate the bill on Feb. 5, AP reported.

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