55 members of the Illinois People's Action left Mt. Moriah Christian Church in Bloomington Tuesday morning for Springfield to lobby lawmakers on giving Illinois driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. (Stephanie Pawlowski/WJBC)
By Stephanie Pawlowski
BLOOMINGTON - Lawmakers in Springfield are getting a visit from residents across Central Illinois Tuesday, on the first day of the Fall Veto Session.
Members of Illinois People's Action from Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, Champaign and Springfield are lobbying lawmakers to pass the bill to start issuing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. Member Cristina Deutsch said if someone is here, they're working.
"Our problem is with the federal laws on immigration that have not been updated to the requests that we have for these workers," Deutsch said. "So, it's not a matter of 'go home' because you're needed here and they find jobs."
Member Laurie Bergner said it's also a safety issue.
"There'd be fewer uninsured drivers, there will be fewer people with no licenses and that means they have to know the rules of the road, they have to pass a vision test, they have to pass a road test, so they should be much better drivers," Bergner said.
Estimates show 250,000 undocumented immigrants driving on Illinois roads. Gov. Pat Quinn said he'll sign a bill if lawmakers approve it. Lawmakers are expected to consider the bill this week of the Fall Veto Session or next.
Bergner said police in the Twin Cities are reluctant to support the bill because they don't know all the language.
"But, Chief McKinley of Bloomington was very much in favor on principal and he said this was just good for the public and good for police work, it helps with identification when they stop people," Bergner said.
Stephanie Pawlowski can be reached at Stephanie.Pawlowski@Cumulus.com.