Ill. Driver’s Licenses For Immigrants 10 Months Away

Illinois is the fourth state to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license with a new law signed by the governor.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the legislation Sunday surrounded by hundreds of supporters who say the measure will make Illinois’ roads safer and expand opportunities for illegal immigrants.

Democratic State Rep. Eddie Acevedo of Chicago sponsored the bill:

ACEVEDO:  “To our view, this is a victory for all of us. But, my friends, today is about more than just celebrating our achievement. For this achievement, while wonderful, is just another mile marker in a journey to secure the American dream for all people.”

Quinn says everyone needs a way to get to work, drive to the doctor or drive their children to school.  The legislation was billed as a public safety measure and had bipartisan support.

Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, a Republican from Lemont,  says the new law should serve as a model for the nation:

RADOGNO: “I hope that we can take this model on this bill in this state and apply it nationally to get something done that so desperately needs to be done.”

The law’s opponents have pointed to hundreds of fraudulent cases in New Mexico, Washington and Utah after those states began giving illegal immigrants permission to drive. Illinois will not require applicants to be fingerprinted as other states do, for fear that would discourage immigrants from applying.

Secretary of State Jesse White says his office will start issuing the Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses in October.  White says the new law included a 10-month delayed effective date, so that his office could implement the program “thoughtfully, efficiently and effectively”.

-Illinois Public Radio/Associated Press

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