STATE HOUSE – The General Assembly today approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Frank A. Ciccone (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) and Rep. Karen Alzate (D-Dist. 60, Pawtucket) which allows the Division of Motor Vehicles to issue driving privileges to undocumented residents in the state.
“We need to ensure that all drivers, regardless of their immigration status, are trained, tested and insured when driving on our roads. This is a safety issue as well as an economic issue. If the worst were to happen and an accident occurs involving an undocumented person driving, our residents and businesses are protected far better if this legislation is enacted as opposed to the status quo,” said Senator Ciccone.
“The community of color has long advocated for the passage of this legislation that will keep our roads safer while also helping a portion of our population who struggle daily due to not being able to drive a car to work, or to pick up their kids, or to go about their daily business. This bill acknowledges that individuals with undocumented status are still human beings who deserve the same services and protections that documented residents enjoy and utilize,” said Representative Alzate, Chairwoman of the RI Legislative Black and Latino Caucus.
The legislation (2022-S 2006Aaa, 2022-H 7939A) states that in order to apply for the driving privilege card or permit, an applicant must have verification from the tax administrator that the applicant either has filed a personal income tax return as a resident with this state for the tax year preceding the date of application or has been claimed as a dependent on a personal income tax return by an individual who has filed a personal income tax return as a resident with this state for the tax year preceding the date of application.
The applicant must also present two primary proof of identity documents, or one primary proof of identity document and one secondary proof of identity document, and two proof of residency documents. The applicant must also be in compliance with insurance requirements.
Neither the permit nor card would be usable for federal or state identification or voting purposes.
Currently, those unable to establish a lawful presence in the United States 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 bill now heads to the governor’s desk for consideration.