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Agree with New RMV Proof of Residence Law?

Starting Jan. 1, a new law will require that vehicles in Massachusetts be registered only by someone with proof of legal residence. Is this a backdoor way for immigration enforcement, or common sense?

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is readying to implement a new law that goes in effect Jan. 1 and would require people registering a motor vehicle or trailer to provide proof of legal residence, the Boston Herald reports.

Accepted forms of proof would include—but are not limited to—a driver's license, a state identification card or a Social Security number, the Herald reports. RMV Registrar Rachel Kaprielian would be empowered to write exemptions for some residents, such as out-of-state students, military personnel, senior citizens and disabled persons.

According to Sharon Patch, Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), who put forth the amendment as part of the state budget, said in a written statement after the law passed, "This is a concrete measure that strikes at the heart of the support structure that allows illegal immigrants to register and operate motor vehicles all while avoiding prosecution for immigration violations."

Gov. Deval Patrick vetoed Hedlund's amendment, but both chambers of the state Legislature overrode his veto. Patrick said in his veto letter that it would force the state RMV to enforce federal immigration rules and that, according to the Herald, "The RMV is also ill-equipped and under-staffed for such an assignment."

The bill received additional attention after Auricelli Braga, a 32-year-old unlicensed illegal immigrant from Stoughton, was charged for her role in a fatal car crash.

Braga, originally from Brazil, was charged with motor-vehicle homicide, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and driving without a license following a two-car crash on Turnpike St. in Canton on June 24 .

Read more about the law on Sharon Patch and the Boston Herald, and tell us: Is this a backdoor way for immigration enforcement, as Gov. Patrick suggests, or a common sense reform? Tell us your reaction in the comments. 

Editor's note: This article is cross-posted to multiple Patch sites including Andover.

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