Last week, more than 100 immigrants and activists gathered together to pressure the Massachusetts Senate to advance the Work and Family Mobility Act S2061, which would provide undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. A bill that has already been made law in 15 states and Washington D.C.
Dozens of immigrants and activists held a program on the State House steps with immigrant speakers from Cosecha leaders from Central America and a clergyman from Jamaica shared personal testimonies. While over a sixty car caravan drove around the Boston Commons honking each time they passed the programming.
The activists put up cages with signs “all cages are connected” and empty chairs to represent those who have been separated from their families, detained, deported, and the Massachusetts legislators that have been silent on the issue since the start of the pandemic. Drawing the line between systemic violence at the expense of not having a driver’s license that the immigrant community has had to endure.
A banner read “always essential, never expendable,” highlighting that immigrants continue to be front-line essential workers and are unable to safely get to and from work without them. Many work in agricultural fields, construction, and factories where they are shuttled in crowded passenger minivans to get to and from work, putting themselves, and the people they serve, in danger during the pandemic. Others cannot access basic needs, like food and toiletries, without traveling far distances. Drive thru testing is also inaccessible.
“I have a teenage son, I’m here because he dreams of driving in the future. I need to fight so that he can drive without fear, or as a mother I will die of fear knowing the risk he is putting himself in,” said Irma Lemus Amaya, immigrant Cosecha East Boston leader.