Massachusetts Cop Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 46 Posts

MassCops Founder
Joined
6,403 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Driving without a license

Illegal aliens risk charges to travel

By Ellen G. Lahr
Berkshire Eagle Staff

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Carlos Torres was heading home to Lakeville, Conn., one October day, after doing a porch renovation job in West Stockbridge.
Somewhere in Alford, police stopped him for speeding about 10 miles over the local limit, he said. His car was towed, and he was left to make his own way home.

As with countless undocumented workers, Torres has no Massachusetts driver's license because he has no Social Security number to obtain one, as required here and in numerous other states.

Fausto Tamayo, 52, of Lee, an Ecuadoran immigrant, was driving without a license Oct. 3 when he rolled through a stop sign; he, too, was charged with driving without a license.

Massachusetts' driving laws, and laws in Connecticut where Torres lives, pertain to driver's licenses only.

Torres and Tamayo are allowed to own and register a car, to attach license plates, to pay excise taxes and to buy a new car insurance policy -- but they can't legally drive a car.

In Southern Berkshire District Court on Thursday, both men worked out minor penalties: Tamayo's unlicensed driver charge was dismissed, and he paid a fine for the stop sign violation.

The case of Torres, whose car is registered and insured in Connecticut, was continued without a finding, with a probation contingency for several months.

Judge James B. McElroy ordered both men not to drive.

Looking the other way

One South County police chief said he's had a handful of cases involving immigrant drivers with no licenses, and tends to overlook the matter among the otherwise law-abiding motorists.

But not all are lenient.

"Not at all would we look the other way," said another South County police officer.

Thomas Bartini, clerk-magistrate of Southern Berkshire District Court, said unlicensed immigrant drivers are an increasing clientele in the court, but that the court is under no obligation to report minor motor-vehicle offenses to immigration authorities.

In these two cases, one charge was dismissed and the other will be after several months, assuming Torres has no further problems. But even with a conviction, the driving-without-a-license offense would not show up on a criminal record check, Bartini said.

On the other hand, judges are obligated to inform anyone convicted of a crime that it may lead to deportation.

Torres, through a Spanish-language interpreter during a court recess Thursday, said that the driver's license restriction is "muy grando" -- very big, among undocumented workers living in a rural area. They often work late-night jobs in restaurants and odd-hours factory shifts, for which there is no after-hours public transportation.

He said people drive to their jobs anyway out of necessity. Or they rely on friends for rides. Or they ride bikes, in all sorts of weather. Or they walk.

"I know of a woman who walked four hours back and forth to work, from Ashley Falls [in Sheffield] to Canaan, Conn.," Torres said.

Sandra Hall, a certified legal interpreter who accompanied both men to court Thursday, said she increasingly represents illegal aliens charged with driving without a license.

Immigrants also are at a disadvantage if they cannot speak English fluently to police, a problem for both Torres and Tamayo.

Loosening state laws

"This is a huge issue: You can't work without [a license]. It's difficult to get children to school and medical appointments, so people are driving anyway, out of need," said Hilary Greene, director of the New American Citizen Coalition in Pittsfield. "And it's a safety issue, because people without a license haven't gone through the channels of proving they are safe drivers."

In other words, they haven't proved that they know the rules of the road through the state driver's license test.

Last week, state Rep. Timothy Toomey, D-Cambridge, chairman of the House Committee on Public Safety, filed legislation that would loosen the state's driving laws regarding undocumented immigrants. The law would allow any driver to obtain a license if they passed the required test.

However, a proposed federal law could create tougher restrictions nationwide, said Greene, of the Pittsfield coalition.

Ali Nirani, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Coalition in Boston, said that this is "hands down, a very important issue."

"In a world of ironies, it is also one of the more entertaining ones," he said, noting that the state happily accepts registration fees and other car-related expenses and taxes, while depriving drivers of their legal right to drive.

He said public safety is the key; any untested drivers, immigrant or not, can pose risks on the road.

An immigrant can drive for a year with an international driver's license, but when that expires, they may find themselves driving illegally. However, they may have been able to buy, register and insure a car during that legal driving year.

Torres said he has valid insurance. Indeed, he was not charged in Massachusetts with driving an uninsured vehicle.

Tamayo also faced no such charge.

State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli, D-Lenox, said he has not fully read the proposed measure, but predicted that it will gain support in the House as a "solid piece of legislation."

"This comes down to public safety," Pignatelli said. "We have a growing immigrant population, especially in Lee, people holding down two jobs, hard-working people who need to get back to work, and we need them driving legally and understanding the rules of the road."

The clampdown on immigrants after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks affected many aspects of their lives, Pignatelli said.

Tamayo works two jobs, at a Lee restaurant and at a Pittsfield company. He is unsure how he will get to and from his overnight shift in Pittsfield.

Meanwhile, his wife, three daughters and son live in Ecuador and rely on the money he sends home, while he shares an apartment with two friends.

When he was stopped for running a stop sign, he was not at his best because he was recovering from a hernia operation.

"I couldn't tell the police officer that," he said, referring to his language limits.

Torres, who said he was a professor of technology in Colombia, came here four years ago, about the time his son was accepted at Purdue University in Indiana. He said it has been costing him and his wife $22,000 a year to send their son there; he will graduate Dec. 19. Torres works at odd jobs and carpentry, and his wife is a housekeeper.

He left his native land, he said, "because our country is basically at war."

Hard-working

Michael Ballon, owner of Castle Street Cafe in Great Barrington, said that his staff of immigrant employees are citizens.

One was sponsored by Ballon and applied for a green card -- or lawful permanent residency -- prior to 9/11. The card finally came through just a few weeks ago.

"The reality is the issue of immigration and the legal status of workers does not seem to be a pressing concern around here," Ballon said. "Ask any landscaper, painter or contractor or mill operator. They're working here and not causing issues, and no one is taking away the jobs of Americans. Anyone can get a job anywhere right now."

"I'm very respectful of the laws, they were made to be followed," said Torres. "It should be legal for us to drive."

http://www.berkshireeagle.com/Stories/0,1413,101~7514~2579242,00.html
 

MassCops Founder
Joined
6,403 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Last week, state Rep. Timothy Toomey, D-Cambridge, chairman of the House Committee on Public Safety, filed legislation that would loosen the state's driving laws regarding undocumented immigrants. The law would allow any driver to obtain a license if they passed the required test.
Hopefully this one ends in the trash, to file this was nothing more than a waste of ink and paper! I would love to hear Toomey's motives for filing such a ridiculous piece of legislation. I have emailed the thread to him, lets see if he will be kind enough to enlighten us.
 

Registered
Joined
4,210 Posts
Driving without a license
"In a world of ironies, it is also one of the more entertaining ones," he said, noting that the state happily accepts registration fees and other car-related expenses and taxes, while depriving drivers of their legal right to drive.
How the hell is it their "legal right to drive", if they are not legally in this country? I'm so sick of this "debate", it should be a non-issue! Deport them, make them do it the right way. There are plenty of LEGAL immigrants in this country that waited their turn....
 

Senior Member
Joined
1,334 Posts
What a waste of time by the legislature. There is already a provision for foreign nationals who are in the country legally to drive on their passport. I would think a year is plenty of time to get things squared away and try to obtain a license if they are going to remain in the country. Why cater to the immigrants that are here illegally and without the proper authorization, especially in these times where homeland security is such an issue. Especially with licenses! They are most peoples primary form if ID! Tighten up the standards... :2c:
 

Registered
Joined
4,210 Posts
What a waste of time by the legislature. There is already a provision foreign nationals who are in the country legally to drive on their passport. I would think a year is plenty of time to get things squared away and try to obtain a license if they are going to remain in the country, Why cater to the immigrants that are here illegally and without the proper authorization, especially in these times where homeland security is such an issue. Especially with licenses! They are most peoples primary form if ID! Tighten up the standards... :2c:
Well said.
 

Registered
Joined
71 Posts
Maybe if the illegal immigrants take a class, and then get a license, they will be smart enough not to drink and drive. :shock:

There is a judge in Essex County, that told a local police chief, that his officers were targeting guatemalan males and making unnecessary "operating w/out a license" arrests. Then again this same judge, thought if prostitutes read books, they might stop doing tricks. :roll:

I for one would like to see some type of well thought out plan, on how to address this problem, with the illegals driving w/out a license. It's a pain in the ass dealing with playing the name game with the guatemalan community, but with the RMV spearheading something like this, we will be dealing with similar issues.
 

Registered
Joined
119 Posts
Chapter 90 section 10 fine for violation: 100.00

Getting your permit: 30.00
Road test: 20.00
Class D License: 40.00

Total : 90.00

HMMM...Why get a License if it is just going to cost you 10.00 bucks more IF you get caught driving without one. I would like to see the fine go to 1,000 with the money coming back to the town
 
G

Screw 'em. Even if they have a "valid" license from their country of official residence, Brazil, Guatemala, Italy, FRANCE, etc, I don't care. 90/10 and a courtesy tow. If you can't prove you are legally in the U.S., then I do not recognize the license in hand or any other privilege. Basic human civil rights are allowed, of course. "But I need to work" Boo Hoo. Get a job in your home country. According to the Democ-rats there are no jobs in the U.S.
So Far none of the courts have sent a message to me to stop.
 

screw you...
Joined
2,692 Posts
Not only are they 90-10 , but as soon as they get their reg they drop their insurance. So now you got a bunch of 90-9 and 34J's driving around getting in accidents. Guess who's paying for that....
 
G

Guess what else makes our job harder? I have noticed that some of these illegal residents show their foreign license. Remember some of them, ie. Brazil and other european ones use a different DOB format. We use MM/DD/YYYY. They use DD/MM/YYYY. The reason I bring this up is that if they are entered wrong on the court complaint, it may appear wrong on a WMS check. Even worse latin americans use mother and father surnames.
 

MassCops Founder
Joined
6,403 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I had a 90/10 last week with no positive ID, brought him in and did the livescan within 20 minutes received information that he was arrested in Arizona by the border patrol. I thought why come all the way to Massachusetts? Why not just settle in somewhere in AZ, TX etc...? Why, because Massachusetts is illegal immigrant friendly and Toomey's suggested legislation only proves that! :evil:

We installed livescan a month ago and every arrest now gets printed. One step forward and the state takes three steps backwards.
 

Grim reaper
Joined
1,361 Posts
EXCELLENT GIL!!! That is just the kind of thing we ALL need to be doing! We do that here in Springfield with the LiveScan and it works! We also have a direct in with I.C.E. (refer to my earlier posts somewhere on here :) ) about how we actually get deportations out of it. I say we find everything we can on this proposal and forward it to the US Attorney General, FoxNews, The Herald or any other main stream America media outlet and raise the alarm. California tried it twice and it failed THANKFULLY! Until then, Lock them up, print them under whatever name they give and do your best at finding out what record they have and if its something you think warrants deportation CALL ICE. I have numbers, names and contacts for anyone in Mass who wants them. PM for the info...and keep up the fight to keep America safe!!

PS I would however be cautious of routinely charging anyone from another country driving here with their home license in possession. A foreigner may operate on their native license for 1 year upon legally entering the US provided they have their passport to show the entry date. They must also be on the list of countries who signed the Geneva Act 1949. If you want more info on that, PM as well......
 

MassCops Member
Joined
81 Posts
Driving without a license

Illegal aliens risk charges to travel

By Ellen G. Lahr
Berkshire Eagle Staff

GREAT BARRINGTON -- Fausto Tamayo, 52, of Lee, an Ecuadoran immigrant, was driving without a license Oct. 3 when he rolled through a stop sign; he, too, was charged with driving without a license.
WOW, Look at that, I made the News Paper....Its was I that charged Mr. Tamayo for driving without a license, after he just about T-Boned my cruiser. He BLEW through a Stop Sign, not "rolled through" it!!! And as usual, a little slap on the wrist and off you go.... now remember, dont do it again, pinky promise!!!! :evil: I am surprised that the paper didn't cry about the $90 tow fee he had to pay too!!!!! I am only too sure that i will run into him again....no pun intended!!!! :shock:
 

Registered
Joined
193 Posts
Why didn't I drive when I was 15? I wasn't qualified for a license which is a privilage not a right! If you are not legally entitled to be here, you shall not receive any privilages for which you are not entitled! I had a hit and run a while ago a guy from India here with an Indian driving Union license(if anyone wants to see a copy of this silly thing PM me) and a Enterprise rental car...he was playing with the radio, lost control took out a couple mailboxes, lawns and other things, stopped for a minute then bolts! Enterprise turned had to him in! I ripped on him and cited for 90/24 twice!...OTE/Fail to stop after accident. I didn't cite for 9/10 but now I feel I should have. Oh well he'll go back to India before his court date anyways :roll:
 
G

WTF is wrong with these legislators...

The illegal immigrants should not be in our country in the first place.
*************************************************************************************************
After reading this I went back to see my history book. And guess what!! Immigrants came to this land and took it overfrom the Native Indians and made it what it is today.
:xmas:
 

MassCops Founder
Joined
6,403 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
WTF is wrong with these legislators...

The illegal immigrants should not be in our country in the first place.
*******************************************************************************************************
After reading this I went back to see my history book. And guess what!! Immigrants came to this land and took it overfrom the Native Indians and made it what it is today.
:xmas:
Oh please, different time and place, times change. Get a clue!
 

Subscribing Member
Joined
944 Posts
E_Javi2 @ Tue 07 Dec said:
WTF is wrong with these legislators...

The illegal immigrants should not be in our country in the first place.
*************************************************************************************************
After reading this I went back to see my history book. And guess what!! Immigrants came to this land and took it overfrom the Native Indians and made it what it is today.
:xmas:
Yeah and now we give the Indians Billions and billions of dollars every year.
So cry me a river, build a bridge, and cross over it for them cause it's old news.
Wake up and smell the maplenut crunch! :musicboo:
And also while you are at it get the sand out of your vagina and quit stealing VOR's avatar.

Scott
 

Subscribing Member
Joined
308 Posts
illegal= no license period. I am not crapping on immigrants this country was founded on people from different countries coming here in search of a better life; however, I am sure anyone with immigrant backgrounds cant contest the old timers that came over bit the bullet became citizens and learned enough english to pass the test. i urge everyone to email and write your elected officials so this bill gets flushed down the hopper.
 
1 - 20 of 46 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top