Immigrant Drivers Licenses To Get Veto-Session Push

With Illinois’ legislative elections over, interest groups are focusing on the upcoming lame-duck veto session. One such group is pushing to create special drivers’ licenses for immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally. As Brian Mackey reports, it probably won’t be the only controversial measure being pushed in the veto session.

It’s being framed as a matter of public safety.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights says there are 250-thousand immigrants driving in Illinois without valid licenses. The Coalition’s Lawrence Benito says that affects every other driver in Illinois.

BENITO: “This has led to issues like our insurance premiums increasing because of uninsured motorists or accidents with people who have no insurance or no identification to show at a traffic accident scene.”

At least one previous attempt to get immigrant drivers’ licenses failed. That makes the lame-duck veto session an attractive window of opportunity for groups like the Coalition.

The idea is that lawmakers who are on their way out could be swayed to vote for something unpopular since they no longer have to face voters. The most recent lame duck session, two years ago, saw Illinois’ income tax increased, civil unions approved, and the death penalty repealed.

— Brian Mackey

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