Immigration Reform

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM VICTORY

Illinois lawmakers approved a new measure Tuesday that would allow undocumented immigrants to get temporary driver’s licenses.  According to the Highway Safety Coalition, the estimated 250,000 unlicensed Illinois immigrant drivers cause $64 million in damage claims each year, and, in 2011, they were involved in 42 percent of all fatal car crashes.  

Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged to sign the bill, saying in a statement that it will make the state’s roads safer.  “More than 250,000 immigrant motorists on our roads today have not passed a driving test, which presents a dangerous risk to other drivers,” said Quinn, a Democrat. “Illinois roads will be safer if we ensure every driver learns the rules of the road and is trained to drive safely.”

The state’s Senate approved the bill in a 41-14 vote last month.  Immigrant rights advocates praised the move.  “The Illinois Legislature has shown the way forward on immigration,” Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said in a statement.The bill, which the state’s 

House of Representatives approved 65-46 on Tuesday, says immigrants can apply for the temporary licenses — good for three years — if they have lived in the state for more than a year. The driver’s licenses cannot be used as identification to buy weapons or board airplanes, officials have said.

Ald. Danny Solis (25th) called expansion of the Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) program “a sensible solution to our broken immigration system.”  The council passed a resolution backed by 28 aldermen urging the General Assembly to expand the state’s Temporary Visitor Driver’s License program to accept undocumented immigrants in its lame-duck veto session.  

On Sunday, January 27, 2013 (pictures from the event below), Illinois Governor Quinn signs into law driver’s licenses for undocumented. The signing ceremony was held at the Instituto del Progreso Latino in the city’s southwest side Pilsen community.  Illinois now becomes the fourth state in the country to allow the undocumented driving privileges.  Illinois promoted the initiative as a public safety measure.  Unlicensed immigrant drivers were estimated to cost $64 million in damage claims in the state, the new law ensures that all drivers pass necessary driver’s training, testing and obtain insurance thereby making the state’s roads safer.