Sunday, April 21, 2024

Illinois Takes Steps towards Granting Licenses to Undocumented Immigrants

Pending a House floor vote, Illinois has passed a bill that will make it the fourth state to grant driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

If passed, Bill SB957 will allow an estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrants the opportunity to obtain three-year renewable licenses. Supporters of the bill say it is a major push for public safety.

The legislation “seeks to improve safety of our roads and make sure our motorists are trained, tested and insured,” says Representative Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), the bill’s sponsor.

Currently, the states of New Mexico and Washington both allow undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses, while Utah issues special driving privilege cards.

In order to qualify for a license an applicant in Illinois would have to provide proof of residency in Illinois for a minimum of a year, undergo rules-of-the-road training, take a vision test, and show proof of auto insurance. Once approved, applicants will be required to have their picture taken and filed digitally in the state database. The license will only be good for driving and cannot be used for purchasing firearms, registering to vote, or boarding a plane.

Opponents of the bill argue that this could lead to more fraud and that it lacks proper homeland security safeguards such as fingerprinting. Rep. Acevedo says that fingerprinting would add significant costs to the program, and Fred Tsao, the Policy Direction with Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights believes that fingerprinting might scare off eligible applications.

“The more we can do to help recent immigrants step out of the shadows, the more they can do to make active contributions to our communities and economy,” says Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Fox News Latino