The Illinois House has approved a bill that will allow undocumented immigrants to get temporary visitor driver’s licenses. Senate Bill 957 already passed the state senate and Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign it into law. It would take effect in the Fall.
The measure will allow an estimated 250,000 people in Illinois to get temporary licenses. Supporters, including some Republican state officials, say it will make the roads safer for everyone. Undocumented immigrants would have to pass the necessary tests, provide proof of identification and proof that they have lived in the state for at least one year. They would not have to provide a social security number.
The Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police lobbied against SB 957, arguing it should have included a fingerprint requirement. The house passed the bill 65-46, after a lively debate.
“We’re not following the U.S Constitution,” said State Rep. Dwight Kay, a republican from Edwardsville who voted against the measure. “Once again we’re not doing the right thing. We like to do the wrong thing because it’s politically popular.”
The temporary driver’s licenses have a purple color scheme instead of red. They cannot be used as valid identification to board a plane, buy a gun, or vote.
At an event organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood Tuesday night, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the bill a step towards federal action.
“I want us to take this victory, savor it, and use it as energy to move on and bring comprehensive immigration reform to this country,” said Emanuel.