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PROVIDENCE â€“ Gov. Lincoln Chafee has re-ignited the controversy over
issuing drivers licenses to illegal aliens.
Legislation submitted on Chafeeâ€™s behalf by Sen. Frank Ciccone of North Providence and Providence in the Senate and by Providence Rep. Anastasia Williams in the House of Representatives would create a â€śdriverâ€™s privilege licenseâ€ť for people who meet all other requirements for a regular driverâ€™s license but â€ścannot establish that he or she is legally present in the United States or does not have a Social Security number.â€ť
Such individuals would have to produce two types of identification,
including a foreign birth certificate; a valid foreign passport that is unexpired or expired for less than three (3) years before the application for a license including a certified translation if the document is not in English; or a valid, unexpired consular identification document issued by an applicantâ€™s country of citizenship; as well as either a certified court record; a valid driverâ€™s license or state ID issued by another state or US
Territory; an employee ID; a certified school record; or an INS Form 1-94; and proof of residency as set forth in the rules and regulations to be promulgated by division of motor vehicles; and an individual tax payer identification number.
The legislation specifically states the driverâ€™s privilege license can not be used an identification card for federal or state purposes and
explicitly not for voting. It would be a different color than regular
Ciccone introduced similar legislation last year but it did not pass.
â€śI am supportive of providing some form of license privileges for
undocumented immigrants,â€ť Chafee said in a statement issued by his press secretary, Faye Zuckerman. â€śOther states have already passed similar legislation. In Rhode Island, the bill has broad support from the Democratic candidates for governor; they have made comments that they are in favor of it.â€ť
Terry Gorman of Lincoln, director of RIILE (Rhode Islanders for
Immigration Law Enforcement) vigorously opposes the idea.
Gorman quoted a statistic from the Pew Hispanic Center that there are
20,000 undocumented persons working in Rhode Island. â€śAre we going to have 20,000 people come out of the woodwork to get driverâ€™s licenses? Are we going to have to hire more people at the DMV (Division of Motor Vehicles) to take care of it? Where is the money going to come from in Rhode Island to administer it?
â€śHow many languages will Rhode Island have to give the test in?â€ť Gorman asked, saying that, besides Spanish there are people who speak Portuguese, Vietnamese, Hmong and a variety of other tongues.
â€śThese people are here against the law and our governor is going to give them driverâ€™s licenses?â€ť he said. â€śIt makes no sense to me at all.â€ť
A call placed late Monday afternoon to Progreso Latino drew no response.
Follow Jim Baron on Twitter @Jim_Baron