Rhode Island again debates immigrant driver’s licenses

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island state lawmakers are once again debating whether to grant driver’s licenses to immigrants in the country illegally.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the bill Tuesday.

It would allow the state to issue special licenses to people unable to establish lawful presence in the United States. The cards couldn’t be used for identification purposes.

Similar proposals have been debated for years in the Democrat-controlled legislature, but never get a vote. Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello last year campaigned for re-election in his Cranston district on his record of “single-handedly” blocking the legislation.

He has said it doesn’t have the support of most Rhode Island citizens or lawmakers.

Twelve other states and the District of Columbia offer special licenses to unauthorized immigrants.