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Only on 10: Raimondo still working on licenses for illegal immigrants

For undocumented residents, the chance to get a driver’s license could be a reason to come to Rhode Island.

Rhode Islanders love to gripe about the Division of Motor Vehicles. Major complaints include how long it takes to get service, as well as how much it costs.{}

But for undocumented residents, the chance to get a driver's license could be a reason to come to the Ocean State.

Gov. Gina Raimondo promised during her campaign that she would institute driver's licenses for illegal immigrants before the first year of her term was up. As she approaches the end of that year, NBC 10 News confirmed that she is working toward that goal.

Raimondo's office said she has a team working to implement the driver's license program. While she's going to do it, it would not confirm a timetable or whether she will skip the legislative process and implement the program by executive order.

In the past, proposed legislation has not passed the House of Representatives.

But Juan Garcia of Immigrants in Action said the governor's office has asked him to gather support for the cause.

"We're going to different mayors and asking them for letters to support Governor Gina Raimondo to give executive order," said Garcia, noting that said he believes Raimondo will make the new drivers licenses a reality before the end of the year and without legislative actions.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza and Central Falls Mayor James Diossa are supportive of the idea.

NBC 10 also learned a plan was put into place during the Chafee administration to create driver privilege cards - not official IDs - but cards that require a driving test, proof of residency, and proof of insurance, for non-American citizens. Connecticut has instituted something similar.{} The card would not look like a driver's license.{}

The plan, NBC 10 was told, was going to generate revenue greater than the cost of creating it.{}

Terry Gorman, who is against illegal immigration, finds that hard to believe.

"Where is law enforcement going to come up with the money to get all these people tested? Gorman said.{}"Where are they going to come up with the interpreters to do all the testing?"

Gorman went on to say that issuing illegal immigrants licenses is "a terribly wrong move."

"I think it's just going to add to our reputation as a sanctuary state," said Gorman. "I think it's going to bring even more illegal aliens to Rhode Island to take advantage of all the different benefits that we're giving them now. Their children get state tuition at our college. They're getting free healthcare. Now, they're going to get driver's licenses."{}

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