Story by 89 WLS reporter Bill Cameron
In Springfield, the Illinois House has just given final legislative approval to give temporary driver's licenses to the undocumented.
Driver's licenses for the undocumented passed the house with several votes to spare. The roll was called as the sponsor, State Rep. Eddie Acevado of Pilsen wrapped up an hour and a half of debate with this impassioned plea, "I love this country. My family fought for this country and I will continue to fight for this country and continue to fight for any individual in this country and the state of Illinois whether you're documented or undocumented, illegal, white, African-American, green, blue yellow, straight, gay, it doesn't matter. We're all human beings!"
Governor Quinn immediately issued a statement saying he looks forward to signing the bill into law.
© Content Copyright 2013 WLS Radio 890AM and WLSAM.com. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - The Illinois House has approved legislation allowing illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.
House lawmakers approved the bill 65 to 46. The measure now heads to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk, who has said he'll sign it.
Supporters of the bill that sailed through the state Senate have been bipartisan. They call it a matter of public safety that will allow an estimated 250,000 illegal immigrants of driving age in Illinois to get driver's licenses.
The licenses would not be used for identification purposes like to board a plane. Anyone who applies will have to take driver's tests, prove Illinois residency and have a picture taken that would go into a state database.
Washington and New Mexico allow illegal immigrants to get licenses.
Copyright © 2013 Associated Press
(SPRINGFIELD) A bill granting undocumented immigrants temporary state driver’s licenses cleared its first Illinois House hurdle Monday despite homeland security questions.
But its broader prospects appeared iffy as the House adjourned Monday without taking a vote on the plan, and Tuesday stood as the last scheduled day of the lame-duck legislative session.
The House Transportation Vehicles & Safety Committee voted 6-3 to position the legislation for a full House vote, possibly Tuesday. The bill is supported by immigrant rights organizations.
“I think we’re right there. I believe that we’ve done all the homework. I think we’re going to have enough votes to get it through,” said Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago), the bill’s chief House sponsor.
Under the plan, which has already passed the Senate, as many as 250,000 undocumented immigrants who have lived in Illinois for one year would be eligible to receive a temporary visitors drivers license that would last for three years.
In exchange, those motorists would have to undergo rules-of-the-road training, take a vision test and show proof of auto insurance. The licenses couldn’t be used to purchase firearms, to board aircraft or register to vote nor could applicants be licensed to drive semi-trailer trucks or school buses.
But in committee Monday, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police protested the legislation, saying it lacked the proper homeland security safeguards of requiring applicants to undergo fingerprinting and to provide federal tax identification numbers.
“Without these basic public safety and homeland security safeguards, this bill is unsafe,” Hanover Park Police Chief David Webb told the committee.
Some key Republicans argued the same point.
“I think the integrity of the system is compromised if we don’t know who these folks are,” said Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst), who voted against the bill in committee.
An aide to Secretary of State Jesse White, who supports the legislation, said it is expected to cost $800,000 to set up within his office initially and then $250,000 a year to maintain thereafter.
Acevedo said adding the cost of fingerprinting to those figures would cause costs to skyrocket. Bearing that out, an official with the Illinois State Police, which supports the bill, said fingerprinting would cost about $25 per applicant.
“The way the state is as far as debt, I think the last thing we need to do is put an extra burden in terms of fingerprinting on the state of Illinois,” Acevedo said.
© Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC