Immigrant driving plan stalls in Illinois

| 7/24/2007

An effort in Illinois to establish a special driver’s certificate for undocumented immigrants will have to wait a while longer to have its fate determined.

Sponsored by Rep. Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago, the bill would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s certificates. The certificates would be distinct from driver’s licenses and would not be valid for identification purposes other than driving or buying auto insurance.

The House voted 60-56 this spring to advance the bill to the Senate where a final vote on the measure was delayed until fall. If approved there, it would head to Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who said he would sign it into law.

The delay in the Senate was blamed on uncertainty of whether support was wavering. Advocates opted to delay action on the bill to shore up backing.

Opponents of the bill – HB1100 – say the certificates would “reward” people for disobeying immigration rules. Supporters say the certificates would help reduce wrecks and insurance rates by encouraging illegal immigrants to take driving lessons and obtain insurance.

There are 250,000 uninsured illegal immigrants on Illinois roads, the Chicago Tribune reported. Those drivers are involved in nearly 76,000 wrecks each year.

Applicants for the certificates would be photographed and fingerprinted. They also would need to show a valid taxpayer identification number, passport and proof of identity and residency, as well as prove they are at least 18 years old.

The bill contains a “sunset clause,” which will take the law off the books in five years – unless the Legislature renews it.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Illinois in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor