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2/28/2019 Rep. Williams emphasizes the need for legislation allowing DMV driving privileges to undocumented residents
STATE HOUSE – At a press conference in the State Library of the State House today, Rep. Anastasia P. Williams (D-Dist. 9, Providence) stressed the need for legislation (2019-H 5511) she sponsored that would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles (RIDMV) to issue driving privilege licenses and permits to applicants unable to establish lawful presence in the United States.  Representative Williams has sponsored this legislation for the past several General Assembly sessions.

The press conference was held with Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence), sponsor of the companion legislation (2019-S 0153) in the Senate, and the Immigrant Coalition, which includes over 30 community, advocacy and religious organizations, and works on a range of issues that are vital to the well-being of our immigrant neighbors.  

“I sponsor this bill every year because it is about two very important things.  First, the legislation ensures that all drivers on the road are knowledgeable of traffic safety laws and safe operation of motor vehicles.  This bill is about the safety of everyone on Rhode Island’s roads, whether they are legal residents or undocumented residents.  Also, by passing this legislation, we will acknowledge our too often forgotten immigrant community in Rhode Island.  These are hard-working people who greatly contribute to our state, pay taxes, and want nothing more than to achieve the American Dream.  By granting them driving privilege licenses, we will be lifting them out of the shadows and placing them on the proper path to legal residency,” said Representative Williams.

Currently, those unable to establish a lawful presence in the U.S. are unable to produce the documentation, such as a Social Security number, that state law requires for the issuing of a driver’s license.  The new legislation would still require certain documentation, such as a foreign birth certificate, or other legal documents in order to issue the driving privilege license or permit.  Also, neither the permit nor license would be usable for federal or state identification purposes.

The press conference included multiple speakers from the Immigrant Coalition highlighting why such legislation is needed to protect all drivers on the road and the immigrant community.

The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903