DACA recipients living in Rhode Island now have the guaranteed right to drive and work. Governor Gina Raimondo is set to signed new protections into law Monday afternoon.
DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, protected from deportation thousands of young people --known as "dreamers" -- brought into the U.S. illegally as children. When President Donald Trump announced plans to end the program, many recipients feared they would be forced to return to countries they never knew.
But the Obama-era immigration policy also allowed undocumented residents to apply for work permits and driver’s licenses. Now Rhode Island is codifying those rights into state law, allowing any current or former DACA recipient to continue to work and drive in the state. The legislation expressly states that the driver's license does not confer the right to vote.
An estimated 1,000 people receive DACA protections in Rhode Island.