Bill would allow undocumented immigrants to receive driver’s licenses in RI


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Rhode Island lawmakers are renewing their push to allow undocumented immigrants to get drivers licenses.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Anastasia Williams and Sen. William Ciccone, is modeled after similar legislation enacted in 15 other states.

“Our state flag represents hope,” Williams said. “Is that too supposed to be hope for some and not for all?”

The bill has been introduced before but hasn’t passed the General Assembly.

“Folks are risking their livelihoods, they’re risking their freedom,” Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who supports the bill, said. “They are risking it all just to get their kids to school, get their kids to a doctor’s appointment, just to get to work and come back home.”

The legislation is supported by the Rhode Island Immigration Coalition, which kicked off its “Drivers Licenses for All” campaign Tuesday.

Isabely Garcia, an undocumented immigrant living in Rhode Island, said the bill would significantly improve her life and the lives of others in similar situations.

“It’s more of an opportunity for us to be better for our children,” Garcia said.

Opponents of the bill say it would encourage undocumented immigrants to move to Rhode Island and that it could have financial ramifications on the state.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello hasn’t supported the legislation in the past. A spokesperson for Mattiello’s office tells Eyewitness News he will review the bill after it’s heard by the House Judiciary Committee.

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