Issuing state identification cards to RI residents unable to establish lawful presence

Last updated: September 20, 2023

The Economic Progress Institute strongly supports Senator Cano’s SB-129aa, which would allow the DMV to issue state identification to Rhode Island residents unable to establish lawful presence.

In 2018, the city of Providence launched IDPVD, a municipal identification card program, that is available to all city residents regardless of immigration status. IDPVD allows all residents to have access equitable access to local programs and services. It also “strengthens and protects our neighborhoods by promoting community pride and aims to improve relationships between residents and local government entities.” The General Assembly already passed the Safer Roads Act, which provides driver privilege cards to RI residents without lawful presence.

SB-129aa is an extension of the Safer Roads Act. This amendment strengthens the state identification card privacy protections and confidentiality provisions by making them equivalent to those provided for residents under the Safer Roads Act. It will allow undocumented Rhode slanders to access critical resources and services. Identification cards for undocumented immigrants have been proven to help emergency personnel in providing critical care, promote public safety, and increase access to financial services. Despite their immigration status, these residents who would qualify for state IDs and Driver Privilege Cards are paying taxes to the state and should be able to more fully participate in RI. It will also ensure that these residents, who are critical part of our economy and workforce, can build trust and community with state authorities.

Senator Cano’s SB-129aa would allow tax-paying, Rhode Island residents without legal status to obtain state identification. It would promote equitable access state resources and services for all Rhode Islanders. We urge passage.

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