Hi [Rep/Senator] _____________,
My name is _______________, and I am a constituent of yours that lives in [town] calling about important state legislation to support immigrant rights.
The Driving Families Forward coalition is working to pass the Work and Family Mobility Act, House bill 3012 and Senate bill 2641 which is state legislation to enable all qualified Massachusetts drivers, regardless of immigration status, to apply for a standard license. The bill has been voted favorably out of the Joint Transportation Committee.
I believe Driver’s Licenses is a COVID and racial justice issue. Amidst the current state of the world, advocating for the immigrant community and the black immigrant community, who have been directly affected by this pandemic and systemic inequalities, remains a priority.
Here are some of the reasons why I support this legislation and why it is so important amidst the current pandemic [pick 2-3 issues to share]:
- Our immigrant community includes black immigrants from Brazil, Haiti, Cape Verde, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica just to name a few. All of these countries make up the largest 15 home countries of undocumented immigrants in Massachusetts. Passing the Work and Family Mobility Act would dismantle part of the structural racism that immigrants face in our Commonwealth.
- There is no doubt that the socially damaging and unsafe linkage of driving privileges to immigration status is a part of the systemic racism that continues to hold back Black and brown communities. Mobility is necessary and the current pandemic has shown how systemic inequities disproportionately affect Black and Brown communities, many of whom are immigrants.
- Through the pandemic, our work has been deemed essential. Through the reopening, it is only appropriate that we have the dignity of being deemed essential people.
- Healthcare Access: Reliable transportation is a barrier in accessing COVID-19 testing, child and emergency medical needs. In this current pandemic, the well-being of our communities are at stake. It is dire that we ensure everyone has the opportunity to access necessary and life dependent medical care without putting themselves, their families, and others at greater risks.
- Public Transportation is not safe: During an epidemic, public transit is not the most safe or viable option for transportation and increases a person’s risk of exposure. As the state begins to re-open and eventually ends the state of emergency, more people will be heading back to work — growing crowding on public transit week by week. Everyone deserves to have security, to be healthy, and to be able to transport themselves and their families in their own cars without putting themselves at risk for greater exposure.
- Access to Basic Needs: Food is a necessity of our everyday lives. The current pandemic has disrupted many people’s access to basic needs — many facing limited access to transportation to and from grocery stores and others having to rely on food banks miles away from home and to provide themselves and their families with adequate food supplies. This disproportionally affects communities that do not have the opportunity to obtain a driver’s license.
- Immigrants are essential workers, not expendable workers: Immigrants make up a significant portion of the essential workforce, like agricultural, janitorial work, and health care, which keep our society and economy going. Without access to driver’s licenses, immigrants are limited to travel via public transportation to and from work without the possibility of social distancing. Everyone deserves the opportunity to have safe and reliable transportation options during this pandemic.
- Drive-Thru testing leaves out undocumented population: Massachusetts has significantly increased COVID-19 testing across the state with drive-thru operations that require the ability to drive a car in order to get tested. Without a driver’s license, much of the essential immigrant workforce and immigrant communities are not able to access this necessary form of healthcare due to the barriers of driving. Now more than ever, we need to ensure that everyone across the state has equitable access to COVID-19 testing so that our immigrant communities are not disproportionately affected by this public health crisis.
- Our food chain depends on immigrant labor [& you can’t harvest food over Zoom]: Immigrants disproportionately work in the agriculture field and are shuttled from farm to farm in crowded passenger mini-vans just to get to and from work due to lack of access to driver’s licenses. Farm workers are keeping our economy moving during this pandemic and deserve the right to stay healthy and get to work easily and safely.
The Work and Family Mobility Act was also just endorsed by the Massachusetts Major Chiefs of Police Association, which is an organization composed of most of the police chiefs for the bay state’s cities, along with those representing the state police and the Mass Bay transit authority. Additionally, the bill was voted favorably out of the Joint Committee on Transportation in February, one step closer to an official vote in the state legislature.
Can I count on you to support the Work and Family Mobility Act?
[Or if leaving a message or voicemail] I hope I can count on you to support the Work and Family Mobility Act.