Drivers Licenses for Illegals in Brown Daily Herald


Writing for the Brown Daily Herald, Shawn Young notes that Governor Raimondo’s plan appears to have stalled, and I get to be the opposition voice:

“There should be a clear legislative channel for the state to discuss” the issue of driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, said Justin Katz, a writer for the Ocean State Current. The government should follow a predictable path so that Rhode Islanders are able to keep track of and control it, Katz said. Right now, there is no state law that “prevents the interpretation that driver’s licenses can go to non-citizens,” Katz said.

Even though it would not be illegal for Raimondo to issue an executive order, Katz does not think she will take this route because there is not enough support for the issue.

One important area of our conversation that Young didn’t include is the “and so.”  In order to ensure that a legislative approach is followed, the General Assembly should immediately (or as soon as possible) pass legislation that either (A) reinforces the status quo of no licenses for illegal immigrants explicitly within state law or (B) forbids the use of executive action to make the change.

Neither is likely, though, because politicians like to ensure that all disputes are political, not legal.  If that’s the game they want to play, then those opposing the driver’s licenses should begin campaigning on the issue, now, so politicians who are ambivalent don’t let the rope slip, either accidentally or greased with the deals and special favors that characterize Rhode Island government.

  • Rhett Hardwick

    What is not clear to me is what sort of examination would be required. If licensed in Mexico, or Canada, they can drive here now on their out of country license. There used to be an International Driver’s License, does that still exist? I think that was only Europe. I recall that required the adoption of standardized shapes for various signs, such as octagon for “Stop”.