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Finns have a better shot at a Massachusetts driver's license than Somalis

The Globe reports the RMV is moving to suspend the licenses of immigrants who flew to Arizona to get driver's licenses because that state lets applicants take an interpreter with them into the written test, while we don't.

Yeah, get that outrage out now about the lowlifes from overseas endangering all us excellent native drivers. What the Globe doesn't mention until the 13th paragraph, however, is that Massachusetts offers its written test in 26 languages - but many of those are languages of immigrants in, oh, the 1940s:

Advocates say that while the state does offer the driving test in many languages, the options are out of date - featuring Finnish and Hungarian, but not the languages of Somali Bantus or other recent refugees. The list needs to be expanded, they say.

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“You have to follow a set of rules,’’ [Kaprelian] said.

The rule in Arizona is you don't have to demonstrate residency to get a license.

Another rule in Arizona is that you don't have to take the tests if you get certified at a driving school.

Another rule is that in MA, you can pay a fee to have your out-of-state license transferred to an MA license.

So, by invalidating these licenses, please explain to me which party is not "following a set of rules". What's this nonsense about regulators investigating in Arizona to see if rules were broken, too? Their own rules allow for a state-accredited driving school to hand out certificates...so unless the school faked its accreditation with the state, then what the hell? If we can just invalidate, on a whim, someone who had their out-of-state license transferred, then what's the point in having reciprocity with any of those states? What happens when I'm driving in Arizona and they decide that they don't like how MA is treating AZ citizens...so they tell me my license is invalid and I have to go to jail for driving without a valid license?

The only reason they even feel empowered to do this at the RMV is because "it only effects a limited number of people". Stomping minorities, one group at a time: MA RMV.

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Half the states in the union should not allow MA licenses to be transferred because the written test is only 10 questions on paper - not 40 to 80 questions covering nearly every critical aspect of driving.

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...the "what part of illegal don't youse understands?" comments... then cite the Milford drunk driving case... stir in a little populist they're takin our jobs bile and shake vigorously. Apply froth to lips and begin calling talk radio and posting comments on boston.com and the Herald on-line.

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Cue up:

-The country's language is English
-The signs are in English
-The laws are in English
-The newspapers that cover changes to the laws are in English
-The notices from the Registry regarding changes to your license are in English
-Electronic signboards are in English
-Tollbooth workers speak English
-State Police speak English
-Emergency responders, nurses, and doctors speak English
-Most of the other drivers speak English (ie the people you need to interact with, especially if you hit them)

LEARN TO SPEAK ENGLISH FIRST. THEN COME TO AMERICA. THEN GET YOUR LICENSE.

It's not my problem that your lazy ass came to America thinking you were entitled to jump in a car speaking Ubutfubu and drive to your job, and you'd learn English "at some point." America is not a bowl of jellybeans - it's a melting pot, and in order to join society here, you speak English. Otherwise you end up being preyed upon by everyone, and my tax dollars are wasted on saving your sorry ass in the thousand different ways it ends up in trouble.

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Where are all of these "English Only" policies set in law?

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-England doesn't even have English as an official language.
-The signs aren't in English.
-Here's the MA Dept of Corrections Policy List in Spanish. I also give you The US Constitution in Spanish.
-I give you El Nuevo Plan de Empleos.

It's not my problem that your lazy ass can't use Google to find out that you're wrong. Also, if we're such a "melting pot" then explain why you can't seem to get along with any of the other flavors, amigo.

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Yes, if you don't speak English you deserve to be preyed upon by everyone. Because that's the kind of country we want to live in.

You moonlighting for the Khmer Rouge Human Rights Commission?

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You can thank Ted Kennedy for slamming the door on well educated, hardworking Finns and other Europeans eager to assimilate, acculturate and help build the country. No surprise that Ted's "achievement" has led to what we have now. A flood of third world immigrants gaming the system at best, murdering 12 and killing 13 Americans in drunk driving accidents daily at worst. John-W, if the dreadful Milford incident is off-limits for discussion, are the other 4,744 (drunk driving deaths caused by illegals) each year, too?
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"First, our cities will not be flooded with a million immigrants annually. Under the proposed bill, the present level of immigration remains substantially the same.... Secondly, the ethnic mix of this country will not be upset...." --Sen. Ted Kennedy, circa 1965.

The actual result, according to wikipedia: "By changing long-held immigration policies, the act resulted in new immigration from non-European nations which changed the ethnic make-up of the United States.[5] Immigration doubled between 1965 and 1970, and doubled again between 1970 and 1990.[2] The most dramatic effect was to shift immigration from Europe to Asia and Central and South America."

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... is why I really really could like a minus button.

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They are also hardworking, well-educated, and eager to assimilate.

They don't have white skin, though. Is that your point?

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Between

well educated, hardworking Finns and other Europeans eager to assimilate, acculturate and help build the country.

... and well educated, hardworking Indians and Chinese eager to assimilate, acculturate, and help build the country?

In other words, why should Europeans even get a preference? Other than, say, "they look like us"?

Most well educated, hardworking Europeans I know want nothing to do with the US these days, anyway. That's because the countries in the European Union are decades ahead of us in taking care of their poverty issues(poverty being a driving factor in sending immigrants our way) and even need immigrants to do their unskilled work.

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Here come da darkies!!!

Actually I blame our current immigration situation on Bill Clinton and IRAIRA in '96. And I find it really satisfying to know that this country will not be majority white in my lifetime (and I'm no spring chicken). I only hope that it happens within your life time so that it will annoy the fuck out of you.

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... "full faith and credit"? Sounds like Mass is going to get hit with a constitutional law suit real soon now.

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I speak Spanish and English. It makes no sense to me to have forms available in tens of languages. Why in the world haven't we declared an official language, and enforced it? Printing forms in multiple languages and hiring linguists does cost money.

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What gets me is.. street signs are in ENGLISH.

Why do we offer the test in other languages. You'd think the ability to read English would be top priority for drivers.

This just doesnt make sense. Until we remove all English words (except street names, highways, etc) from signs and move toward Universal signage, they really SHOULDNT offer the test in other languages.

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That's what gets me. They probably had to know a hell of a lot more about driving and traffic laws to get a license in any other state.

Maybe they just aren't up on those INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT junior operator license restrictions that take up half the "test".

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n/t

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What street signs? Half the damn roads are unmarked by signs declaring their names.

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I would think the top priority for our drivers is that they do not drive like many of the folks whose antics are frequently depicted here on this blog. I've managed to drive in many countries that do not speak English or feature road signs in English and somehow I managed to not drive over bikers or hop out of my car and take a tire iron to my fellow drivers. Seems like beyond language skills actual driving skills and courtesy probably will get your further than being able to grunt and scream obscenities in English.

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I drove in Mexico several times and got around OK. However, the rental car agency gave me a little primer about driving in Mexico (like driving down the road with your blinker on means its OK to pass)

I'm not really talking about speaking, just reading. Like for example, those big electronic signs that MassPort uses on the Bridges and 93. I mean if you can't read English, you aren't going to know that "Road Closed Ahead, See Alternative Routes".

Or signs that have directional information on it "Keep Left for Assembly Square Drive". "No Passing" "No Right Turn on Red". Stuff like that.

If you didnt reed English, you wouldn't be able to read any of those.

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So I guess all those large trucks getting wedged under the bridges on Storrow were all driven by non-english readers, as the bridges are all very well equipped with signs addressing the height concerns...?

I would also hazard to guess that there are a number of functionally illiterate people born and bred in the U.S. who drive regularly with few mishaps (although that's just idle musing....i.e., talking out my ass).

Not being able to read English (or read at all) might make you an inefficient driver but I highly doubt that it makes you a more dangerous driver than the legions of nimrods out there behind the wheel with full literacy skills and the common sense of a turnip.

The issue here is the conflation of one societal concern (shitty drivers) with another (presence of undocumented immigrants in this country due to....). Now that "due to..." part is where another whole conversation needs to occur but never does. The anon troll who spoke of the "lazy ass" immigrants obviously does not know any immigrants. "Lazy" is hardly a term I would use for the vast majority of immigrants. "Lack of immigration enforcement" would be the usual fallback answer to fill in those ellipses but only demonstrate a person's complete ignorance of the situation.

There's a reason that other societal problems are being smeared all over immigrants. It's great to gin up hatred of one group by attributing ALL our problems to them and then keep at bay that larger conversation as to why the hell these people have risked life and limb to get here just to clean toilets.

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This isnt against immigrants or forcing people speaking English for that matter.

Trust me there's some native English speakers who could use a brush up on their English

I think my point is.. if our signs are in English, the test should be in English too. If we offer in it other languages, then ALL signs should be in the same language or remove the English all together.

hello.... I was just making a point that doesn't make sense. Its the same reasoning behind the vision test. Should we just abandon the vision test too. I mean who cares if you can read the sign clearly, as long as you can recognize the shape.

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Didn't mean to direct pissiness to you specifically. I think being able to drive is not necessarily a language-specific capacity but, yeah, being able to read signs (and then follow the instructions) is better than not being able to. My grumpiness on the general "immigrants are vermin" theme is more directed to the usual posters of illegal immigrant bile.

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It is possible to learn enough phrases to get around without learning the whole language. As lacking as the written test is here in MA, it still requires far more capacity for the language than navigating from point A to point B. Large numbers of tourists get around in cars every day, and not all of them speak English. (Though I suspect an embarrassingly larger fraction of them do than you'll find of Americans who speak any other language, and yet most other countries allow us to drive within their borders...)

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Protip: You can know not any english and still figure out what "stop" means, as its on the universal stop sign shape.

Basically, you sound like someone who has never set foot outside the country. You should probably avoid Montreal, because I know youll be trapped in your hotel room, as your lack of knowledge of french will make it impossible to follow those universal signs.

You also sound like someone who isn't even aware of what country he lives in.

American citizen, born in raised in Puerto Rico, in a school funded by federal aid....in Spanish. Oh no, all the street signs are in spanish too. Should this american citizen be forced to change because you have some ridiculous notion about language?

And I hate to break it to you, but your pocket might contain spanish right now.

That's right, a US quarter with spanish (and latin) on it. Heaven help us all.
http://www.coinnews.net/wp-content/uploads/2009/02...

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Road signs are given specific shapes, sizes, colors, and symbols. I could take all of the text off of a road sign and you'd still know exactly how to get around. The illiterate among us who speak fluent English but can't read a word bigger than "dog" can still drive and wouldn't get a second look from most of the people who think keeping these people off the road is a good idea.

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In particular, 'NO TURN ON RED' has no graphical equivalent, nor is it clearly distinguished by shape or color from any other road sign.

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When was the last time you saw a perfectly English-speaking/reading red-blooded American care what a "No Turn On Red" says? ;)

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... but, somehow, I managed to navagate a foreign city (Barcelona) with a language that I do not understand on foot and by subway and bus because:

1. Some sign shapes and codes are international
2. Signs are "telegraphic" - oversimplified grammar, simple meanings make it easier to puzzle them out
3. Color hints and non-verbal pictographic signs (red slash through a car outline, or through a turn arrow) make things easier

Granted, I wasn't driving. I saw plenty of road signs, however, and the signage was pretty clear and understandable because a lot of it was in simple forms and international forms. This is because you can't read and act on a complex set of directions in the time between when you see a sign and pass a sign. Roadsigns are at a very low level of literacy.

It was a little trickier to buy a train ticket and subway/bus tickets from a machine, but I managed that pretty well, too.

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There is a graphical No Turn on Red sign in Quebec.

http://www.mtq.gouv.qc.ca/portal/page/portal/accue...

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Actually Ron, the newer MUTCD guides mandate a pictorial version of the no turn on red.

http://www.clipartguide.com/_named_clipart_images/...

But even then, the words don't matter.

If I put up a "No Turn On Red" sign but wrote it as "Na Town in Rod" guess what, 99% of people wouldnt notice, because we see the sign as an image.

Its the standard placement of color, letters and font that get the message across.

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With all due respect, the graphic on that sign doesn't say to me "No turn on red" it says "no turn, period." That's the only thing the placement and color of that image convey, absent knowledge of English.

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Dude, seriously? You see a "No right turn" symbol above a red light symbol on the same sign and you can't put two and two together? If it was just the "no turn" symbol, then yeah, it means no turn. But when it has a red light on the SAME DAMN SIGN, you really can't figure that out? I was going to say "What do they have to do, spell it out for you?", but that would defeat the purpose.

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J's post of the American version of the sign has a graphical "no right turn" symbol, above the text "ON RED".

You still need to be able to read the "ON RED".

Sorry if my post about the Quebec sign confused things.

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No Turn on Red Sign is recommended, but is NOT mandated by the 2009 MUTCD. Word message No Turn on Red signs are still an acceptable alternative.

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With that weird language they have and those funny "metric" speed limits?

Also fun: We've somehow convinced Germany that Massachusetts residents don't have to take a German written test if they want to get a license there - for some reason, they think a Massachusetts license is proof enough Bay Staters living in Germany actually know how to drive.

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I've not taken an exam in any of those states listed, yet I have a valid Massachusetts license. Does Germany not realize that people can transfer licenses within the U.S. without taking an exam?

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We should all learn from Aunt Zeituni. We owe it to these peoples.

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The true answer isn't to take away their Arizona-based driver's licenses.

What good is living in the future if we don't adapt! The answer is to buy them all iPhones!

Meet the Word Lens app. Having played with this app myself already, I can confirm it works nearly as well as the demo video shows.

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That app, assuming it runs as the ad looks, is very impressive.

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This is a loophole that people are using to get MA licenses. An easy soloution would be to change the law. But there is a process to do that, you can't just make it up as you go along.

I would assume MA can make a law saying that only US citizens can get MA licenses. The trick there is that if Arizona gives out licenses to non-citizens, then MA might legally have to honor them as part of federal laws (citizens in different states have the same rights in other states, etc). But I think MA might have some power here if Arizona is giving non-citizens rights that they might not have in other states.

As far as the written test go, I think they are bogus as well. Many of these immigrants (legal or not) have a very hard time with reading comprehension. If you gave them harder driver tests in the form of an oral exam, I bet most would pass.

Reading street signs doesn't mean you have to be literate to drive a car.

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Calling this a "loophole" suggests that by going to Arizona they are otherwise obtaining a MA driver's license that they would have no honest right to have.

However, there's no evidence that these people couldn't functionally pass the MA tests...if the concepts being tested were available to them in their own primary language(s). There *is*, however, rudimentary evidence that they *could* pass the MA tests. They have driving certificates from state-approved driving schools in Arizona. Again, unless MA wants to fully stake the claim that AZ doesn't properly license ANY of its citizens (at which point ANYONE with a AZ license is suddenly persona non grata in MA...so I seriously doubt Kaprelian is willing to go down THAT limb).

No, this is an example of a completely legal set of moves that ultimately the RMV has capriciously decided to act on. I hope the ensuing court case teaches them that they can't just pick on people just because it's only 100-200 people.

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But I think I'm wrong on that one too. Only Washington and New Mexico give licenses to illegals? (I probably should have read the last two pages of the article.)

But the loophole is that these aren't probably Arizona residents to begin with. These are MA residents going to Arizona to get a license because it is easier to get one there for some reason or another (in this case language). It defeats the purpose (if there is one besides fees) of having state issued drivers licenses. I would call that a loophole.

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I doubt that the purpose is to keep certain types of immigrants from driving in one state, but not others.

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Probably because of the fees.

And we probably don't need to add another another beaurcracy to deal with licenses. But I think all states should have basically the same test. Kind of like a 'no child left behind' act for drivers.

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http://education4drivers.com/news/congress-conside...

This covers the graduated license programs, which vary significantly from state to state. There is also some lobbying by the insurance industry for a national comprehensive rules test to which the states could add things, mainly because the exams in the Northeast states tend to be quite short and don't address most aspects of driver knowledge.

Here's how the variations in the minimum permit age could be exploited: MA has a permit age of 16 years old. Oregon has a permit age of 15. I offered to have my 15 year old get a permit in Oregon, as I own a home there and that is sufficient (I checked into it). He wasn't interested, but it was a possibility if we were going to drive a car cross-country last summer.

I think the "learn to drive while in Arizona" is much less of a loophole than that.

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Not sure if your sons Oregon permit would be good in MA though. If he is a MA resident (There was just a case on this Comm. vs Chown)

The important factors the State lists for people needing to have a MA license, most of which would pertain to adults

Pays income tax
registers to vote
mortage exemptions for real estate

goes to school (I assume if he lives here and goes to school here).

So I'm not sure if he could legally drive on an out of state licence just because you own property there. MA residents with property in NH and ME have tried this before.

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