Undocumented Immigrants Able to Legally Get Behind the Wheel

Illinois is among a handful of states that will offer driving privileges to individuals who are in the country illegally, according to the Chicago Tribune. The Illegal Immigrant License Bill, which failed to go through legislation by two votes in 2007, passed through the Senate in December 2012. On January 8, Governor Pat Quinn’s office issued a statement saying that he plans to sign in the bill.

Juan Vicente Urbina, an undocumented immigrant who has lived in the state since 2001, told the publication that he runs the risk of being pulled over and deported every day he drives his 7-year-old daughter to school. Under this new legislation, individuals who have not yet gained U.S. citizenship like Urbina will be able to obtain Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses that will be renewable every three years. However, this identification will not suffice to board a plane, buy a gun or vote.

“Whatever your position on immigrant issues, what we can all agree on is there are millions and millions of undocumented people in this country living with us, working for us, driving for us,” Edward Acevedo, a state representative who sponsored the measure in the House, told the Chicago Tribune. “We have failed because some of these individuals cannot be trained to drive the roads of Illinois.”

Supporters of this decision have voiced their concerns that 250,000 illegal immigrants were behind the wheel without proof of having the ability to do so. Unlicensed illegal immigrant drivers currently cost about $64 million in claims costs, according to CBS News.

On January 6, officials in Connecticut announced that the state would issue driver’s licenses to young individuals in the state who qualified for deferred action. This victory is a huge win for undocumented families who run the risk of being deported and separated every day.