More than six years after Gina Raimondo called for the legalization of driver’s licenses for undocumented Rhode Islanders, supporters are renewing their push for that elusive goal.

Raimondo emphasized her support for the concept during the 2014 gubernatorial primary, seemingly in an attempt to draw support from Angel Taveras, then the mayor of Providence.

After taking office, Raimondo said it was the General Assembly’s responsibility to enact driver’s licenses for undocumented drivers – and the issue has languished ever since then, despite support from law enforcement.

Marcela Betancour, director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University, offered this explanation for why the legislation sponsored by House Labor Chairwoman Anastasia Williams (D-Providence) and Sen. Frank Ciccone (D-Providence) has failed to move ahead.

“It’s a rhetoric,” she said, “of ‘well, they’re quote-unquote illegally here. They are not supposed to be here -- why would we do this for them?’ I think it’s also the misunderstanding that, one, they are here; two, they are driving. The goal of this legislation, what it would do is improve public safety.”

Supporters say the measure would bolster public safety since undocumented drivers could be more easily identified if they have a license, in the event of a car accident. About 15 states offer such licenses.

Critics say creating driver’s licenses for undocumented residents may encourage more of them to come here.

House spokesman Larry Berman said the bill has stalled, despite law enforcement support, since, “The Judiciary Committee has not recommended passage in the past. It will be considered by the committee again this year, and Speaker Mattiello will then review the public testimony and consult with Chairman Craven, committee members and the sponsor. A date for the hearing has not been scheduled yet.”

Senate spokesman Greg Pare said, “The driver’s license legislation regularly undergoes the Senate’s normal committee review process, including a public hearing that has traditionally drawn both supporters and opponents. The legislation has been called for a committee vote in the past, most recently in 2017, but it has failed to win the support of the committee.”

Betancour, part of a group of supporters touting the proposal during a Statehouse news conference on Tuesday, said it’s important to press forward in the face of uncertain legislative prospects.

“Even if it’s not this year, it makes me really excited that we continue to push it,” she said, “so that one day we can have a legislative body that actually understands the benefit that every single person brings to our state.”