Once again, lawmakers are considering legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses in the Ocean State. The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the proposal Tuesday.
This is the second time in as many legislative sessions that drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants have surfaced as an issue before the General Assembly. Last year, bills in the House and Senate failed, despite support from then-Governor Lincoln Chafee.
This bill would allow Rhode Island to issue driver’s licenses to applicants who lack regular immigration status, starting in 2016. The licenses would allow them to legally operate a vehicle but would not provide a valid form of identification.
Proponents have said licensing more drivers would make for safer streets, since residents are likely to drive with or without a license. Opponents say those who lack legal status should not be given the privileges of citizenship.
Prior to her election as governor, Gina Raimondo voiced support for the license measure.
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