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Massachusetts Bill Would Give Undocumented Immigrants Driver’s Licenses

Plus: The last Afghan refugees are set to leave Defense Department bases, and National Guard members complain about Texas border operation

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The Massachusetts State House is expected to vote today on a proposal to make Massachusetts the 17th state to let all drivers, including undocumented immigrants, obtain a license. Supporters of the bill believe it will lead to safer roads by ensuring all drivers have licenses and insurance. They also say it will give immigrants greater access to basic needs. Without a car in Berkshire County, commuting to work, for medical appointments, or just to purchase groceries is a major challenge. “It’s mind-boggling that it’s taken us so long to get to this point,” said Michelle Lopez, executive director of the Berkshire Immigrant Center. The Berkshire Eagle

In other national immigration news…

Final Set of Afghan Evacuees Prepare to Depart Defense Department Installations 

A months-long operation to resettle tens of thousands of Afghans is nearing an end as the final set of several hundred Afghan evacuees who have been living on domestic military bases are expected to depart those installations over the next week. Following the chaotic airlift last August, more than 50,000 Afghan nationals had to first stay at a domestic military base before gradually settling into several communities in the U.S. They were resettled in eight Defense Department installations; now, only two remain: Fort McCoy in Wisconsin and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey. CNN

Two-hour-long Audio Reveals Criticisms from National Guard Members Working Texas’ Border Operation

National Guard members participating in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s “Lone Star” border operation, launched last March, are voicing complaints about their living conditions, a concerning lack of supplies, and other frustrations about the operation. CNN obtained a two-hour long audio from a January town hall with complaints from Guards stating: “There’s guys out there that are short for OCIE…they’ve only got five or six toolboxes that are full of old rusty and half-missing tools.” Poor living conditions and delayed paychecks were among other Guard members’ concerns, with some criticizing Abbott for only trying to score political points ahead of his re-election campaign. CNN

Agencies Investigate Exploitation of Migrants in Alabama Chicken Industry 

Three federal agencies have been investigating working conditions for migrants in a growing Alabama chicken poultry hub. The agencies are digging for evidence of Hispanic migrants being taken advantage of in the area after an abnormally high number of unaccompanied minors were released from federal shelters and sponsored by families last year. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services looked into whether minors were falling victim to traffickers exploiting them for labor. No evidence of child trafficking has been discovered yet, but investigators found some migrants were facing “exploitative” working conditions. Reuters 

Miami Archbishop Criticizes Florida Governor for Views on Migrant Children

The Archbishop of Miami has criticized Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis for calling it “disgusting” to compare the recent influx of Central American migrants and Cubans who fled the island nation as unaccompanied minors in the 1960s. “Children are children — and no child should be deemed ‘disgusting’—especially by a public servant,” the archbishop said. As he runs for a second term, the incumbent governor has attacked migrants and present-day immigration. Nevertheless, he managed to acquire the support of some Cuban immigrants in Florida, many of whom are relatives of the 14,000 minors who came to the U.S. under Operation Pedro Pan, a 1960s program of the U.S. Catholic Church with support from the U.S. government. Crux 

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