Illinois Senate approves driver's licenses for those in the country illegally

December 4, 2012

Those who are in the country illegally could soon be allowed to get Illinois driver’s licenses.

The State Senate approved the measure Tuesday with largely bipartisan support, but the bill still needs approval from the House of Representatives. The bill would require those in the country illegally to pass a driver's test and buy insurance. Lawmakers estimate 250,000 immigrant drivers in Illinois don't have proper licenses.

Republican State Sen. Bill Brady was one of the 41 votes approving the measure.

“We live in an imperfect world and an imperfect state,” Brady said. “The fact of the matter is, there is a cost to society when we have uninsured, untrained and untested drivers. The fact of the matter is, they are not going to self-deport. They’re not gonna — the federal government’s not going to deport them. They are here.”

Leaders from both parties in the House and Senate have also endorsed the proposal, saying it will help make Illinois’ roads safer.

Fourteen state senators voted against the proposal.

“Now we’re expected to believe that folks who are already breaking the immigration law, the employment law, the traffic laws are now going to follow the insurance laws,” said State Sen. Chris Lauzen.

Gov. Pat Quinn has said he favors the legislation.