Join us for Giving Voice (May 8): A celebration of Immigrants and Refugees

Two recent developments have the potential to increase the ability of immigrants and refugees to obtain driver’s licenses in ILI’s service area and throughout the state of Massachusetts.
First, ILI and the Pioneer Valley Workers Center in Northampton are working together to translate ILI’s Driving Curriculum for non-native English speakers into Spanish. The project is supported by a grant from the Community Empowerment and Reinvestment Program.  In addition to translating the curriculum, ILI will train Spanish speaking tutors on how to use it.

Created in 2020 and now online at no cost to users, the curriculum’s 10 lessons are the result of a partnership between ILI staff and students and a research team of graduate students from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, led by professor Rebecca Lorimer Leonard. The lessons focus on how to navigate the state Registry of Motor Vehicles process and how to study for both the written and road tests. Importantly, the curriculum treats language and literacy skills not just as vocabulary or terms to be learned but also with an eye to the social practices and insights that drivers, particularly those who experience heightened discrimination and danger on U.S. roads, need to know.

 LEARN MORE about the curriculum here.

Second, in mid-February 2022, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill that will expand driver’s license access to all residents of the state, regardless of their immigration status. The bill must still pass the state Senate and then be approved by the governor. Similar legislation has been enacted in 16 other states.
Applauding the House action were individuals and organizations comprising the Driving Families Forward Coalition, as well as numerous elected officials, police forces, district attorneys, and sheriffs from around the state. Called the Work and Family Mobility Act, the legislation “moves all state residents toward greater road safety, improved security, better public health and a more vibrant economy, while holding out the prospect of transformational change for undocumented immigrants across the Commonwealth,” according to leaders of the Coalition as reported in the Boston GLobe.