Illinois House Approves Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

7722300270_87048864f5.jpegA major victory for immigrants in Illinois. Laying a model for the rest of the nation! 

via NBC Chicago

(flickr: Dougtone)


The Illinois House on Tuesday approved legislation allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain temporary driver's licenses. The bill was passed by a vote of 65-46.

Under the plan, drivers would get three-year licenses, called Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses,  but would be required to take a driver's education class and carry car insurance. Lawmakers believe there are as many as 250,000 undocumented immigrants on Illinois roads and that more than 40 percent of deadly Illinois crashes involve drivers who don't have a license.

Gov. Pat Quinn applauded the House on the move, saying the bill will save lives as well as "help ensure every Illinois motorist is properly licensed and empower more immigrants to become stronger contributors to our economy."

"Illinois roads will be safer if we ensure every driver learns the rules of the road and is trained to drive safely," Quinn said.

Secretary of State Jesse White and State Police Director Hiram Grau said Monday in a joint statement. that approving the plan not only will make roads safer but also lower insurance rates and strengthen the economy "from the work and buying power of all of our state’s residents."
"Unlicensed, uninsured drivers pose a serious risk to every driver and passenger on Illinois roadways," they said.

New Mexico and Washington passed similar laws that White and Grau said have seen traffic accidents involving uninsured drivers plummet. 
In November, multiple state politicians -- including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senate President John Cullerton, House Republican Leader Tom Cross and former Illinois governors Jim Edgar and James Thompson -- joined to support the bill. Before that 28 Chicago aldermen signed a resolution supporting the bill that would give undocumented immigrants the chance to have a license.

Earlier in the week, Emanuel said the legislation will help recent immigrants "step out the shadows," and make contributions to the economy.

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