On Thursday, the Illinois State Senate moved one step further towards passing a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to get a driver’s license in the state. There are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants living in Illinois, many of whom drive even though they are not licensed. Becasue they do not have legal status to drive, they are not able to purchase liability insure, and many have not passed driver’s education courses.
The law which moved out of it’s committee on Thursday would create a new class of temporary license, valid for three years at a time. The card would be colored differently from normal licenses and would not function as a form of ID other than for driving a vehicle (i.e. it cannot be used to purchase a gun, or register to vote).
In addition to bringing revenue to the state in the form of registration fees, and allowing more drivers to purchase liability insurance, the law is another sign that sentiment is turning in favor of of sensible immigration reform. The bill which is supported by many prominent Democrats including Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel, is also enjoying support among some Senate Republicans, who have traditionally been less enthusiastic about immigration.
As Illinois continues to move forward with immigration reform, we can hope that legislation at the federal level will soon catch up.