Chicago aldermen pushing the state to offer driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants in Illinois

Alderman Danny Solis calls proposed legislation “commonsense”

November 15, 2012

Judith Ruiz-Branch

Twenty-eight Chicago aldermen are urging the state to give driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

According to the group, 250,000 undocumented immigrants live in Illinois.

They said the proposed law would improve road safety and boost revenue for the state.

Aldermen Danny Solis (25th), Joe Moore (49th) and Proco "Joe" Moreno (1st) are spearheading the initiative. They said temporary vehicle driver's licences are already offered to foreign born people living in Illinois.

“I think it’s a question of safety from all our people in Illinois,” Solis said. “Those people need to have a driver's license so they can have insurance so that when they are on our highways, and possibly get into an accident, everybody’s protected.”

“We want to expand that pool to include undocumented immigrants,” said Alderman Moreno. “This temporary vehicle drivers license will only be used for driving. So we are not creating a new type of license, it already exists.”

Lawrence Benito, chief executive officer for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugees, said the proposed law would help to address an even bigger issue.

“A routine traffic stop should not end in the destruction of families and yet over 56,000 children have lost one or both parents to deportation,” Benito said. “Often times they get caught in this deportation dragnet because of a routine traffic stop in which they cannot produce a driver's license.”

Lawmakers are expected to vote on the measure in the fall veto session later this month.