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12-04-2012, 06:07 PM #1
Illegal immigrant driver's license measure sails through Illinois Senate
By Ray Long
3:29 p.m. CST, December 4, 2012
SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois Senate today approved legislation that would allow tens of thousands of illegal immigrants to have special drivers licenses, but the bill’s fate in the House is still up in the air.
The proposal, sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, would allow an estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrants in Illinois to be eligible for the special, three-year licenses to drive a vehicle. With Congress and the White House unable to reach agreement on the overall issue of how to deal with immigration, Cullerton argued the state needs to address safety on public highways now.
Cullerton said it “makes sense” to have people tested and trained in the rules of Illinois roadways rather than go without licenses of any kind.
“We will definitely save lives by passing this bill,” Cullerton said.
But Sen. Chris Lauzen, R-Aurora, spoke stoutly against granting driving privileges to people who are breaking the law by being in the country illegally. Moving Illinois into this territory, Lauzen said, would mean “we have the cart before the horse.”
The Senate approved the bill 41-14, with one lawmaker voting present. (See how they voted by clicking here.) Now it goes to the House, which could take up the issue this week or wait until early January.
Lawrence Benito, who heads the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said he is still tallying the votes in the House, where a similar proposal passed five years ago.
The special license would be different in color from a regular driving license. It could not officially be used for identification purposes, such as for boarding a plane, buying a gun or voting. To get a special license, a person would have to live within Illinois for at least a year—a provision that would require applicants to provide a copy of a lease, utility bills or other proof or residency.
Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno of Lemont said there is no “perfect solution” for the driving license issue in Illinois when the overall of immigration debate is still unresolved. But she said the Illinois legislation represented a good-faith effort to tackle the public policy problem of people driving on the roads without authority.
Illegal immigrant driver's license measure sails through Illinois Senate - chicagotribune.com
12-04-2012, 08:57 PM #2
We have to share this bad news with our supporters in the morning. How long do we have to work on the IL House?
12-04-2012, 10:25 PM #3
GOP support helps move immigrant driver's licenses
By JOHN O'CONNOR and SOPHIA TAREEN, Associated Press
Updated 7:03 p.m., Tuesday, December 4, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois pressed ahead Tuesday toward becoming the third state to allow illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses, with the state Senate approving a bipartisan plan hours after top Republicans offered support.
The tone of the discussion — with little opposition among senators— was a stark contrast to previous years and came weeks after Republicans suffered devastating Election Day losses, which they blamed partly on failing to appeal to immigrants and minorities.
The measure, which would let illegal immigrants get tested for licenses and buy insurance without facing deportation, passed the state Senate 41-14. It headed to the House, where it faces similar reception. A spokesman for House Speaker Mike Madigan said it wouldn't likely come up for a vote until January. The veto session ends Wednesday.
The legislation, sponsored by Chicago Democratic Senate President John Cullerton, was presented as a way to enhance public safety and curb costs created by uninsured drivers. The licenses would look different than permanent driver's licenses and couldn't be used for other purposes, such as boarding a plane or voter identification.
"There is a cost to society when we have uninsured, untrained, untested drivers ... They're not going to self-deport. The federal government is not going to deport them. They are here," said state Sen. Bill Brady, a Bloomington Republican who spoke in support of the bill. "We have to try to find some resolution to this."
He and other Republicans — including Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, House Minority Leader Tom Cross and former Gov. Jim Edgar — held a news conference Tuesday ahead of the vote to urge colleagues to vote for it. It was the first time some in the GOP contingent publicly voiced approval.
Washington and New Mexico allow illegal immigrants to obtain drivers' licenses.
Illinois has about 250,000 illegal immigrants who are driving without training and insurance, proponents of the measure say. Those drivers caused $64 million in damage claims each year, according to the Highway Safety Coalition, a group that supports the bill.
"At the end of the day, this is about public safety," said state Democratic Sen. Iris Martinez of Chicago.
Supporters say the temporary licenses issued would look the same as those given to people in the country legally, so police couldn't target illegal immigrants.
Vicente Del Real, a 30-year-old illegal immigrant from the Chicago suburbs, said he was relieved at the Senate's support. He has been driving without a license for several years, something he says he has to do to get to work and school.
He hopes the measure becomes a law.
"It would make me feel more safe," he said.
Proponents of the plan include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he'll sign it if it arrives at his desk.
"This legislation is about safety and responsibility," Quinn said in a statement. He estimated that Illinois motorists would save about $46 million in insurance premiums.
Opposition to the bill mainly focused on urging the federal government to do more to overhaul immigration overall.
Republicans' stance was clearly different than in previous years when the party has said that it's more important to enforce current immigration laws than strive for comprehensive reform.
But in the wake of the Nov. 6 elections, in which Democrats won supermajority control of both the House and Senate, that line of thought appears to have shifted, especially with exit poll data showing that most voters believe that there should be a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants working in the U.S.
On Nov. 20, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights kicked off their campaign in support of the licenses with an event in Chicago that drew Cullerton, Quinn, Edgar and Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.
Radogno or Cross did not attend. At the time, Radogno said she had a scheduling conflict and a spokeswoman said she hadn't discussed the matter with Cross.
Asked Tuesday about their absence, Cross and Radogno downplayed the issue. Cross said Tuesday that he'd seen the bill and was supportive of it.
"It's not a new issue and it's had bipartisan engagement for five years," Radogno said. "What we see now is both sides coming together and some movement on both sides to get a product that can actually move the ball forward."
Neither addressed the point Edgar made two weeks ago — that the measure is a sound opportunity for the GOP to reach out to Latino voters.
GOP endorsement "bodes well for not only this piece of legislation, which is so important," Edgar said Tuesday. He was secretary of state in the 1980s.
"It bodes well for the whole system that we see on an important issue like this, that Republicans and Democrats are coming together and trying to find common ground."
GOP support helps move immigrant driver's licenses - Times Union
12-04-2012, 10:29 PM #4
UPDATE 3-Illinois moves to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants
The following article says they will vote in the House Wed.
By Joanne von Alroth
Dec 4 (Reuters) - Illinois took a major step on Tuesday toward granting drivers licenses to illegal immigrants, which would make it the most populous U.S. state to allow undocumented migrants to legally drive.
The Democratic-controlled state Senate voted 41-14 to approve licenses for illegal immigrants to raucous cheers from Hispanics in the legislative gallery.
If the measure becomes law, Illinois would join only two other states, Washington and New Mexico, in granting such drivers licenses. Utah allows driving permits.
On Jan. 1, California will allow immigrants with federal work permits to receive licenses.
After taking a drubbing at the polls last month when Democratic President Barack Obama won re-election with 66 percent of Hispanics backing his bid, ha lf of the Illinois Senate's Republicans who voted Tuesday supported the proposal.
At a press conference, Illinois state Senate Republican leader Christine Radogno, and House Republican leader Tom Cross said Illinois could no longer ignore the presence of illegal immigrants, who are driving without licenses and insurance.
"They are here and they are with us, some of them not even of their own volition. But I guess we expect these people to ride their bicycles to work," Radogno said.
Senate President John J. Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, thanked Republicans for their support on the measure.
"Today's action acknowledges a simple reality: a quarter of a million undocumented drivers are driving to work, dropping their kids off at school and contributing to our economy," said Cullerton in a statement. "This legislation will ensure that this population has the opportunity to become trained, tested, licensed and insured drivers."
The measure is expected to be voted on in the Democratic-controlled House on Wednesday. If it passes the House, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn is expected to sign the legislation.
Some Republicans in Washington also have begun to soften their opposition to immigration reform.
Republican senators from Texas and Arizona last month proposed what they called a compromise plan to offer visas to children brought to the United States by their illegal immigrant parents. The plan by Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and Jon Kyl is intended as a Republican alternative to the Democrats' "Dream Act," which would grant citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.
Unlicensed, uninsured drivers are involved in almost 80,000 accidents in Illinois annually, resulting in $660 million in damage, according to the Illinois Highway Safety Coalition. Unlicensed immigrant drivers cost $64 million in damage claims.
The measure would extend to undocumented immigrants Illinois' existing temporary visitor driver's license, used by legal immigrants. The licenses are "visually distinct" from ordinary licenses, with a purple background and the words "not valid for identification" on the front, explained Lawrence Benito, chief executive of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.
State Farm Insurance, a major insurer headquartered in Illinois, said in a statement that the legislation could present issues for insurance companies in assessing the driving record of illegal immigrants, but the company would implement the law.
"Just because you have a driver's license of any kind doesn't mean you'll get insurance," said spokeswoman Missy Dundov. "We have to consider all the information available."
The Illinois Safer Families Coalition, an organization that opposes giving drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, ran an ad this week saying Illinois politicians cannot be trusted to administer such a program without corruption.
Coalition spokesman Bill Kelly cited Ricardo Guzman, a truck driver who illegally obtained a driver's license in Illinois and was involved in a 1994 crash that killed six people. It was later discovered that Guzman had bribed an Illinois state official to get the driver's license.
"I'm afraid that this bill, this poorly thought-through bill, is going to result in similar tragedies," Kelly said.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the number of Latinos in Illinois was more than 2 million, or nearly 16 percent of the population. Lawmakers estimated about 250,000 illegal immigrants drive in Illinois. (Writing by Greg McCune; Editing by Stacey Joyce and Eric Walsh)
UPDATE 3-Illinois moves to give drivers licenses to illegal immigrants | Reuters
12-05-2012, 10:05 AM #5But in the wake of the Nov. 6 elections, in which Democrats won supermajority control of both the House and Senate, that line of thought appears to have shifted, especially with exit poll data showing that most voters believe that there should be a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants working in the U.S.
The truth is that most Americans oppose a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, but like an enemy propaganda broadcast that cares only for the goals of the invading army, the Associated Press is broadcasting this big lie again and again to the American public.
The other lie is that Republicans suffered devastating losses because of wanting to control illegal immigration.
These lies are working, these GOP lawmakers in IL caved and have joined the invasion.
12-05-2012, 11:08 AM #6AprilGuest
12-05-2012, 01:39 PM #7
The driver license issue
has been settled in some states, Texas, Virginia and Oregon among them, that have said they will allow driver's licenses for immigrants obtaining what the Obama administration calls "deferred action for childhood arrivals."
Arizona and Nebraska have pledged to deny driver's licenses to anyone who benefits from the federal relief.
Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington do not require drivers to provide citizenship or legal documentation to obtain a drivers license.
announced earlier this month it would issue driver's licenses to people who receive a work permit under the new program. In a statement to the North County Times Wednesday, the DMV backtracked, saying it was not clear what documents the federal government would give people and whether those documents met state regulations to issue the licenses.
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio are planning to provide driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants who get work papers under a new federal policy.
Even in some states that have passed strong anti-illegal immigration laws, such as Georgia, driver's licenses may be available to undocumented immigrants who qualify under the new policy.
Under current Georgia law, people with deferred status can get a license, and that's what the state will do unless it gets different orders, said Susan Sports, spokeswoman for the state's Department of Driver Services.
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