Illinois bill to give illegal immigrants driver's licenses moves forward

| Thursday, March 17, 2005

A bill that would allow illegal immigrants in Illinois to obtain driver’s licenses has been approved by a committee and is awaiting preliminary approval on the full House floor.

The bill, HB0129, introduced by Rep. Ed Acevedo, D-Chicago, would compel the secretary of state to issue driver’s licenses to immigrants who are ineligible for a Social Security number if they meet other specific requirements.

The Executive Committee of the Illinois House gave its stamp of approval to the measure March 9 on an 8-3 vote. It is now on the House floor, awaiting discussion there before a final vote.

Under the bill, illegal immigrants seeking driver’s licenses would be required to provide:

  • A taxpayer identification number;
  • An affidavit saying that they will file to become permanent residents;
  • A current passport;
  • A foreign birth certificate; and
  • A photograph and digital fingerprints.

There would be several differences between the licenses issued under the bill and other Illinois driver’s licenses. Those issued under the bill would be required to be visually different from other Illinois driver’s licenses and there would be an extra fee for them that would be used to pay for extra processing required for illegal immigrants’ licenses.

Like other drivers, immigrants who received the licenses would have to obtain valid insurance to stay on the road.

Those who receive licenses under the bill would not be eligible for commercial driver’s licenses.

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