Rhode Island

Safety fears rein in march for immigrant driver licenses

  • A t-shirt highlighting drivers licenses for all is displayed on a table during a community meeting at the Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Providence, Rhode Island. Immigrant activists are planning a church-to-church march through a cluster of Rhode Island cities in response to years of political inaction on bills to grant driver's licenses to people in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    A t-shirt highlighting drivers licenses for all is displayed on a table during a community meeting at the Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Providence, Rhode Island. Immigrant activists are planning a church-to-church march through a cluster of Rhode Island cities in response to years of political inaction on bills to grant driver's licenses to people in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)  (The Associated Press)

  • Gaspar Espinoza, a Nicaraguan immigrant and U.S. Navy veteran, listens to activists and volunteers during a community meeting at the Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Providence, Rhode Island. Immigrant activists are planning a church-to-church march through a cluster of Rhode Island cities in response to years of political inaction on bills to grant driver's licenses to people in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Gaspar Espinoza, a Nicaraguan immigrant and U.S. Navy veteran, listens to activists and volunteers during a community meeting at the Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Providence, Rhode Island. Immigrant activists are planning a church-to-church march through a cluster of Rhode Island cities in response to years of political inaction on bills to grant driver's licenses to people in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)  (The Associated Press)

  • Activists gather, with a sign stating "Drivers License = Human Right" on the wall, during a community meeting at the Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Providence, Rhode Island. Immigrant activists are planning a church-to-church march through a cluster of Rhode Island cities in response to years of political inaction on bills to grant driver's licenses to people in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

    Activists gather, with a sign stating "Drivers License = Human Right" on the wall, during a community meeting at the Olneyville Neighborhood Association, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in Providence, Rhode Island. Immigrant activists are planning a church-to-church march through a cluster of Rhode Island cities in response to years of political inaction on bills to grant driver's licenses to people in the country illegally. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)  (The Associated Press)

Immigrants and their advocates are planning to march through a cluster of Rhode Island cities this weekend to push state leaders to allow driver's licenses for people in the country illegally.

But in a move that reflects the fragility of their cause during a national backlash against illegal immigration, they're avoiding the places where they need the most support: predominantly white suburbs home to the elected representatives who dominate the state's General Assembly.

The Coalition for Safer Rhodes says it abandoned plans for an unprecedented dayslong march across the state. Organizers say they've experienced hostility and name-calling while trying to explain their cause in suburban areas and don't want to endanger the safety of marchers.

The march is scheduled to cross through the communities of Central Falls, Pawtucket and Providence on Sunday.