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.
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 (H5511) and Senator Ciccone (S153) 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.
Help ensure that immigrants don’t forego benefits because of fear about the public charge rule
The Trump administration promulgated regulations on Wednesday, October 10, 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:
- It applies only to people who will be applying for a green card – seeking to become a lawful permanent resident.
- It does not apply to:
- Lawful permanent residents when they apply for citizenship.
- Refugees, asylees, self-petitioners under VAWA
- 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 read and download our EPI fact sheet here.
Additional information is available from national partners:
- Protect Immigrant Families: Quick analysis document
- FRAC fact sheet: Hunger Consequences of The Public Charge Rule
- NHeLP: Public Charge Issue Brief
- Kaiser Family Foundation’s: Proposed Changes to Public Charge: Implications for Health Coverage
- National Immigration Law Center's Guide: How to Talk about Public Charge with Immigrants and Their Families