National Immigration Forum

Practical Solutions for Immigrants and America

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Illinois Driver’s License Bill Exemplifies Bipartisan Consensus around Immigration

January 08, 2013

Washington, D.C. — Behind strong bipartisan support, the Illinois legislature voted today to grant a special temporary driver’s license to immigrants who are in the country without authorization. This commonsense public-safety measure will ensure that all drivers on Illinois roads will have been tested on their driving skills and on the rules of the road, and that they will have insurance. It now goes to Gov. Patrick Quinn, who supports the legislation.

Support for the bill transcended party lines, a sign of a shift in the immigration debate. With support from business, health and faith leaders including the Illinois Restaurant Association, the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council and the Catholic Conference of Illinois, Republicans and Democrats united around the importance of keeping Illinois families together and keeping everyone on Illinois roads safe.

“The reality is that people need to drive in order to feed their families,” said Mark C. Curran (R), Sheriff of Lake County, Ill. “Having drivers who are uninsured, untrained and untested comes at a high cost to all of us. This bill will ensure that all Illinois drivers have licenses, which will make our roads safer for all drivers. It is the right move.”

The bill began in the Illinois Senate, where co-sponsors included 16 Democrats and five Republicans. It passed the Senate 41-14. In the House, a similar bipartisan majority approved it 65-46.

“The Illinois Legislature has shown the way forward on immigration,” said Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum. “More and more, political leaders around the country and in both parties are recognizing a new consensus among their constituents, one that recognizes the importance of immigrants and immigration to our nation and that demands a better immigration process.

“It is time for our leaders on the federal level to heed the call of law enforcement, business, faith and community leaders nationwide and create a better immigration process that keeps our families together, makes our communities safer and makes our economy stronger.”

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