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Rhode Island State Immigration Laws

Welcome to FindLaw's coverage of existing Rhode Island legislation and rules related to individuals' immigration status. Below you will find information on what, if any, rules Rhode Island has regarding immigration checks by law enforcement, educational institutions, and employers, as well as the existence of E-Verify requirements, restrictions on public benefits based on an individual's immigration status, and more.

Law Enforcement and Immigration in Rhode Island

As part of the federal 287(g) program, a partnership with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Rhode Island state troopers are authorized to check the immigration status of those who are arrested or detained and refer undocumented immigrants to ICE authorities.

Under a federal program called "Secure Communities," all arrestees are fingerprinted and run through a federal database which checks their criminal record and immigration status.

Employment Checks

Refer to federal employment eligibility verification rules and the requirements for Form I-9.

Rhode Island E-Verify Requirements

The state has ended the mandatory use of E-Verify by employers (effective Sept. 2012).

Driver's License/ID Requirements

A birth certificate and Social Security card, or a valid passport, are required to obtain a driver's license.

Public Benefits Restrictions

Under federal law, illegal immigrants are prohibited from receiving most public benefits. However, they are allowed to receive emergency services, health care and other programs that have been deemed "necessary to protect life and safety."

Education Checks

Undocumented immigrants are no longer barred from eligibility for in-state tuition (effective Sept. 2012).

Voting ID Rules

Valid and current photo identification required for voting. Examples include a driver's license, Rhode Island voter ID card, U.S. passport and U.S. military ID card.

Housing Ordinances and Immigration


Related Resources

  • Know Your Rights - Guide to protecting yourself and your family during immigration raids (PDF, CASA of Maryland and other organizations).

Next Steps

Contact a qualified immigration attorney to help you get the best results possible.

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