Just under six months ago, a new law was put into action that allowed undocumented immigrants to obtain learner’s permits and driver’s licenses in Massachusetts. Ever since the law has taken effect, over 50,000 new licenses have been distributed. Alongside this license distribution increase is a distribution of over 90,000 new learner’s permits. These all have been distributed since the first of July, when the Work and Family Mobility Act officially when into effect.
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles expected this law to open doors for at least 100,000 people to now have Massachusetts licenses.
In order to properly prepare for this change, the RMV had their materials translated into more than 15 different languages. They also work with a new interpretation service which has interpreters available in more than 100 different languages. Their services can be performed over the phone at any time during the RMV’s business hours but can also be performed in person when scheduled with an appointment. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt released a statement where she spoke proudly of the interpretation program they offer.
The interpretation program is not the only thing that the RMV has added to their repertoire. They greatly expanded their staff around the state to accommodate for the increase in volume of orders. Over 250 new employees were hired to various departments to accommodate given the high demand the RMV was seeing. They hired additional call center and customer service center employees, more road test examiners, and even extended their business hours. Some RMV locations even had to open up appointment availability to Saturdays to get everyone through!
The increased demand even required a third party to be contracted to help assist with the testing.
Immigration advocacy groups are working with the RMV to help alert people to the law. Sometimes law makers pass laws but then specifically avoid it being discussed to avoid the actuality of seeing it through, but the RMV did not allow that to happen with the Work and Family Mobility Act. They have been working with several culture specific organizations, such as The Brazilian Worker Center, and broader organizations like the ACLU of Massachusetts.
If you or a loved one wants more information regarding the Work and Family Mobility Act, the RMV has an FAQ section on their website!