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RWU study supports issuing licenses to non-citizens

The Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University has put together a study, recommending that the state give licenses to non-citizens. (WJAR)

The Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University has put together a study, which you can see here, recommending that the state give licenses to non-citizens.

Professor Deborah Gonzalez helped put the report together. It examines that 12 states, plus Puerto Rico and Washington D.C., allow undocumented residents driving privileges.

The report noted that auto insurance rates decline, as does the poverty rate.

“I just want to make clear here that granting driver's privileges and granting driver's licenses is not granting immigration status,” Gonzalez said while presenting the report.

Nonetheless, opponents believe giving licenses would reward bad behavior.

“How can we honor a privilege to people who have broken the rules? They've entered the state, illegally,” Rep. Robert Nardolillo, a Republican from Coventry, told NBC 10 News.

As far as driver’s licenses helping undocumented people to get to work more easily, Nardolillo added, “Those jobs that we're trying to fill and provide for those who are Rhode Islanders, citizens of the country now, through the citizenship process, I think they should have first availability to the jobs.”

A bill to provide driver’s licenses has been introduced at the General Assembly for the past four years, to no avail.

The new report will provide more facts for proponents for this year’s debate.

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