Rhode Island Lawmakers to Protest Governor’s Immigration Reforms

A group of Rhode Island state lawmakers will hold a press conference outside the state house in Providence on the evening of October 4 to register their disapproval of Governor Lincoln Chafee’s immigration policies.

The six lawmakers – five Republicans and one Democrat – take issue with a recent decision to extend in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students, as well as potential legislation allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s permits. In a joint statement to the press, they said they will “demand that Governor Chafee cease and desist” in his immigration reform efforts.

The Providence Journal quoted Chafee as saying he has “no hesitation” when it comes to using his executive authority to “implement policy decisions.”

At Chafee’s urging, the state’s Board of Governors for Higher Education approved the in-state tuition benefit on September 26, making Rhode Island the 13th state to extend this sort of tuition break to illegal immigrants but the first to do so independent of its legislature.

Referring to this strategy for implementing immigration policy, the protesting lawmakers stated the governor has “relegated our General Assembly to the sidelines” by turning to “his own system of Obama-like czars.”

Prior to the press conference, the Guatemalan-American Alliance and the Immigrants in Action Committee will hold a rally to thank Chafee for his support of immigrant rights, according to the Providence Journal.