Two State Senators who co-sponsored an amendment during last month's budget hearings that would increase the penalties for driving without a license and would require immigration status to be checked when applying for public housing, healthcare and employment, spoke out Wednesday after an unlicensed illegal immigrant from Stoughton was .
Auricelli Braga, 32, of Stoughton, was charged with motor-vehicle homicide, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and driving without a license following a two-car crash in Canton on June 24 which killed a Stoughton grandmother.
Braga, from Brazil, is not a legal resident, according to the Boston Herald. She has been in this country illegally since 2002, the paper reports.
Sara Escudero, a 64-year-old Stoughton woman, . She was on her way to work at the time. Escudero, born in Chile, lived in Stoughton since 1985 and became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Despite not having a license, Braga still was able to register her car in November of 2011 since state law only requires an applicant to have a valid insurance policy. There is no requirement to have a license or proof of legal residency to register a car under the current law, according to the Boston Herald.
State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) and State Senator Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge), the sponsors of the aforementioned amendment, released the following statement on Wednesday:
“Once again, those who play by the rules are falling victims to the irresponsible acts of those who don’t. This is yet another clear example of why the Conference Committee and the Legislature need to act swiftly and decisively to ensure that those who are here illegally are not allowed to continue accessing benefits for those who are truly in need and jeopardizing the public safety of the citizens of the Commonwealth.”
According to a press release from Tarr's office, during last month’s budget debate, the Senate adopted a bipartisan Moore-Tarr amendment that would, among other things:
- Increase the penalties for operating a motor vehicle without a license and for employing an unlicensed person as a motor vehicle operator
- Expand penalties for allowing a person without a license, or whose license has been suspended or revoked, to drive a motor vehicle
- Prevent applicants for public housing who are not eligible for federal assisted housing, or who do not reside in the US under color of law, from being given priority over, or otherwise displacing an applicant who has such status
- Require MassHealth to use the federal SAVE (System of Alien Verification for Entitlements) system to verify all applicants’ immigration status for health care eligibility by July 31, 2013
- Require employers to verify through federal programs that their employees are legally authorized to work in the United States
- Enact new penalties for counterfeiting, stealing or altering licenses
- Provide penalties for anyone who uses another person’s ID card or license, or furnishes false information to obtain such card or license.
The bipartisan amendment is currently pending in Conference Committee, according to the release.