By Zach Dietmeier
CHICAGO - Governor Quinn and other state leaders are pushing legislation that would give Illinois driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.
"This particular measure is really one of the very best ways to make our highways safer and to save lives," said Quinn.
Meanwhile, one Central Illinois lawmaker has said absolutely not to the proposal. State Representative Bill Mitchell is against the idea, calling it an unwise policy.
" Several years ago, we defeated the driver's license for illegal immigrants, but apparently now it's in vogue, it's fashionable, apparently it's trendy," said Mitchell. "For a state that's broke, it defies logic."
Estimates show 250,000 undocumented immigrants driving on Illinois roads and that licensing is a matter of safety. The measure would allow those without a Social Security number to get a driver’s license if they can provide proof of identity. The idea is that they’ll be tested and able to get insurance like everybody else, and cooperate with the cops if there’s a crash.
Under one proposal, three-year temporary licenses would be awarded to undocumented immigrants if they show proof of residency and pass the required fields, such as vision, written, and road testing. Few details have been released as to what exactly the General Assembly will be presented.
The idea is supported by former Gov. Jim Edgar, Gov. Quinn, and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan would like to see it voted on as early as next week.
Interest groups that favor the legislation announced their intent last week to push for a measure during the General Assembly’s Veto Session, Nov. 27-29 and Dec. 4-6.
Zach Dietmeier can be reached at email@example.com.