Illinois could be about to become the most populated state in the US to give illegal immigrants a form of driver’s license, after the power boost given to the Democrats in state and national elections on the 6th November by the country’s growing Hispanic population that put America immigration back in the spotlight.
A group of bipartisan politicians in Illinois announced on Tuesday that they intend to propose the law upon the convening of the legislature on the 27th of this month.
Currently, New Mexico and Washington are the only states that currently grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants, although driver’s permits are issued in Utah. As the fifth most populated state in the US, Illinois would be the largest state ever to adopt such a law. A law that allows immigrants who have federal work permits to be able to receive driver’s licenses comes into effect in California on the first of January next year.
Supporters of the proposed law insist it would be good for the purpose of public safety, meaning that illegal immigrants in Illinois who do not have citizenship would be tested for their driving skills and be able to purchase insurance. “When you have a quarter of a million undocumented drivers on the road, it’s definitely a safety concern,” says the spokesperson for Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, Ron Holmes. Cullerton is backing the measure along with fellow Democrats Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor of Chicago, and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn. Republicans Jim Edgar, a former Illinois Governor, and Republican State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka have also supported the idea.