Immigrant Issues

Our state and our country is defined by the immigrant experience. Most of our ancestors were immigrants who came to the United States to seek a better life, escape persecution, and build thriving communities.

The Economic Progress Institute recognizes that immigrants and immigration play a large role in the Ocean State's economy and our future. We believe that broadly shared prosperity means that all Rhode Islanders, regardless of their immigration status, should have equal access to resources and economic opportunities that allow them to achieve their full potential.

This page provides information about resources available to our immigrant neighbors as well as state and federal threats to equal access to benefits that help immigrant families make ends meet.


New Resource: Family Preparedness Plan

If you think you might be detained or deported, making a plan for someone to care for your child can help create stability in their care and allow someone trusted to be in charge of them.

This guide will help you create a plan for your children's care.

For more general information on your rights as an immigrant and how to protect yourself during ICE raids you can read about that here.

Fight the Fear!

Help ensure that immigrants don’t forego benefits because of fear about the public charge rule

In October 2018, the Trump administration promulgated regulations that replace long-standing policy about the meaning and application of the ‘public charge’ provisions of the immigration law. It is important to get the message out to families that include non-citizens the facts about the proposed public charge rule:

  1. It will apply only to people who will be applying for a green card – seeking to become a lawful permanent resident.
  2. It will not apply to:
    • Lawful permanent residents when they apply for citizenship.
    • Refugees, asylees, self-petitioners under VAWA
  1. If the rule is adopted, when a person applies for a green card:
    • Only benefits received by that person will be considered. Benefits received by family members will not be considered.
    • Only benefits received by that person 60 days after the rule becomes final will be considered

To learn more about the facts about the proposed public charge rule Download our EPI fact sheet.

Additional information is available from national partners:

Legislative Action: All Rhode Island Drivers Should be Eligible for Driver’s Licenses

Until the federal government undertakes comprehensive immigration reform and provides pathways to lawful status and/or citizenship for immigrants who have lived, worked and contributed to our community for many years, Rhode Island should provide driving privileges to immigrants who live in our state.

Legislation introduced by Representative Williams (H-5511) and Senator Ciccone (S-153) would allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driving privilege licenses/permits to Rhode Islanders who are unable to establish lawful presence in the United States.

Download the factsheet.

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