drvers licenses for undocumented immigrants

Aaron Read / RIPR

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.


Seventy four undocumented students have enrolled at the state’s public colleges and universities.

They’re taking advantage of a policy the state adopted in 2011.

The controversial policy allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at any of Rhode Island’s schools of higher education. The seventy-four students taking advantage of the policy is about half the number lawmakers predicted. Ana Cano-Morales is the head of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University. She offers several reasons for the lower-than-expected numbers.

State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo has fired a salvo at her like Democratic gubernatorial opponent, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras over the issue of drivers’ licenses for undocumented immigrants.

In a statement on the social media platform Twitter, Raimondo said she is ``disappointed’’ in Taveras’ position of leaving this matter up to the U.S. Congress.

``This is a public safety issue,’’ said Raimondo, who supports licenses for undocumented immigrants.