Articles Posted in State Immigration Reform

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il2011.jpgThe Illinois Secretary of State‘s Office is now accepting applications for temporary driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. Although these licenses are only a small step towards immigration reform, they can help alleviate the fears and concerns of many undocumented immigrants who risk driving, and being arrested and deported, in order to work.

In order to be eligible for the license, applicants must prove that they have lived in Illinois for at least one year. Applicants can do this by bringing a copy of a lease, utility bills, a valid passport or consular identification card, or other proof of their residency. Applicants must also pass vision and driving exams and obtain insurance before receiving a license.

The licenses will be valid for three years and can be renewed. Applicants should remember that the licenses only legalize driving within the state of Illinois. They will not serve as valid forms of identification for other purposes such as boarding a plane, voting, or buying a gun.

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I-80_Eastshore_Fwy.jpgOn December 3rd, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office will begin accepting applications for temporary driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants. In order to qualify for the license, applicants must prove that they have lived in Illinois for at least one year. They must also show that they are not eligible for a Social Security Card. Documents that will be accepted as proof include a copy of a lease, utility bills, a valid passport or consular identification card.

Applicants must also pay a $30 fee and pass vision, written and road tests. The state will then verify application information and conduct a facial recognition search against other government databases. This process may take about 15 to 20 business days, and licenses will be issued once it is complete.

These temporary driver’s licenses will be valid for three years, and applicants will be allowed to reapply after that period. However, these licenses will not serve as valid forms of identification for some purposes including boarding a plane, voting, or buying a gun.

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cars.jpgHighway Safety Coalition State Bill 957, the new law that will make temporary driver’s licenses available to undocumented immigrants in Illinois, will soon be going into effect. Illinois is only the fourth, and largest, state in the entire country to grant driving privileges to undocumented immigrants. Over 250,000 immigrants in Illinois are anticipated to be eligible for temporary licenses under the new law.

Opponents of the law argue that these licenses will be susceptible to fraud. However, Mayor Rahm Emanuel asserts that numerous security precautions to deal will be put in place to deal with fraud.

This new law will make the streets of Illinois safer by requiring that immigrants learn how to drive, get tested and have an insurance policy. The law will also give immigrants more freedom and mobility. For example, parents will now have the ability to drive their kids to school

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street_of_cars.jpegLast week a bill which would give driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants in Illinois moved out of its committee. This week, on Tuesday, it passed 41-14 in the State Senate. The next step is for the bill to pass the House where a vote is scheduled for January.

Under current Illinois law, undocumented immigrants cannot get driver’s licenses and some supporters of the bill say this makes it more likely for these immigrants to drive without insurance and proper training. The hope is that by making it legal for undocumented immigrants to get licensed, they will be able to get insurance more easily. And because all drivers will still be required to pass a driving test, licensing illegal immigrants should improve the skill of drivers who may otherwise be on the road without formal training.

Although the bill passed with a wide margin in the Senate with support from both Democrats and Republicans it faces some resistance in the House. However, the Speaker of the House, and the sponsor of the bill both think it has a good chance of passing. Republicans have traditionally been largely opposed to immigration reform at the state level, but that sentiment is changing as the party adapts in order to court more hispanic voters. Many representatives, Republican and Democrat, see this bill as a common sense improvement and acknowledge the reality that many illegal immigrants drive despite being unlicensed, because they need to get to work or buy groceries. Changing the law will simply make it easier for these people to be trained to drive and to be covered by liability insurance.