Trending: Illinois Provides Temporary Driver’s Licenses for Undocumented Immigrants
Earlier this month Illinois became the fourth state to pass legislation granting undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses. Senate Bill 957, which allows undocumented immigrants in Illinois to receive temporary three-year licenses, passed the Illinois House with a 65 to 46 vote. The bill awaits the signature of Gov. Pat Quinn (D-Ill.) sometime next month.
Illinois is the latest state taking action to provide a more a immigrant-friendly experience and encourage road safety. According to a new report from the California Department of Motor Vehicles, unlicensed drivers are three times more likely to cause a fatal car crash than their licensed counterparts. The driver's education, training and testing of undocumented immigrants during the licensing process would increase road safety by allowing states more information on who is on the road.
Illinois hopes to serve as a model for other states attempting to push similar legislation—as well as the larger nation as the government pivots toward comprehensive immigration reform.
"[I look] forward to carrying the same spirit of problem-solving and concrete accomplishment that was demonstrated in Springfield to the immigration debate in Washington." Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill) said in a statement praising the bill's passage.
Monica Trevino of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) attributed the passage of the bill to cooperation between immigrant organizations, legislators and state departments. Trevino told Campus Progress that S.B. 957 is a common sense bill that addresses public safety, more than it is one that tries to tackle immigration. Trevino recommended working with organizations like ICIRR in respective states as well as contacting legislators to spread awareness about this type of legislation, and creating a space for the issue to be discussed.
The bill is expected to be implemented smoothly. In 2005, Illinois issued Temporary Visitors Driver's Licenses (TVDLs) to individuals who do not have a social security number, but have lawful immigration status. The current framework of TVDLs will assist with the inclusion of undocumented immigrants.
The bill is expected to take effect sometime in the Fall of 2013.
Karen Lazcanois a reporter for Campus Progress.
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