Rights for illegal immigrants take center stage in RI, Mass. - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Rights for illegal immigrants take center stage in RI, Mass.

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By Abbey Niezgoda


It is a hot button issue across the country, what rights should illegal immigrants have, if any. Governors in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are considering new, but different rights for undocumented people.

In Massachusetts, Governor Deval Patrick sent a letter to the Board of Education Monday, telling them to allow illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition. The measure would slash the cost by up to 50% for some, and is part of a federal program. It requires students to have a clean record and to have come to the country before they were 16.

Rhode Island already has a similar program in place, but what they do not have, is drivers licenses. Dozens of illegal immigrants and advocates swarmed the State House Monday night, asking the Governor to deliver on a promise they say he made two years ago.

Governor Chafee eventually came down from his office to speak with the group. He says he is considering the issue, and will continue to discuss it. If Rhode Island does allow licenses for illegal immigrants, it would join only three other states: Utah, Washington and New Mexico.

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