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Illinois mulls driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants

Over the last several weeks, there has been a lot of talk about reforming immigration policy on the state and federal level. While federal officials consider changes to US immigration law, Illinois lawmakers are sensing that it's time for changes on the state level.

One of the main topics of discussion is allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a temporary Illinois driver's license. One of the biggest motivations for this effort is to bolster road safety. When untrained drivers take to the road illegally, they endanger others. Offering undocumented immigrants the opportunity to drive legally would lower insurance costs and promote safety on state roads.

A number of public officials, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, have come out in support of the bill. Supporters indicate that this is a matter of consumer safety, but they also say it's part of becoming a more inclusive, welcoming place to live. Of course, not all state officials welcome this plan, so further debate is expected.

The current legislative proposal is modeled after existing programs that allow legal immigrants to obtain temporary licenses in Illinois.

For those directly affected by changes in immigration policy, being permitted to drive legally could be quite beneficial. Approving this proposal would allow immigrant families to freely run errands, get to work and take their kids to school. As such, for many people this is more of practical than political matter.

Perhaps the most encouraging aspect of this discussion is that lawmakers on a federal and state level are talking seriously about making significant changes to immigration law. These changes have the potential to allow many to continue to enjoy and build the life they have within their Chicago communities.

Even though reform may be on the horizon, the intricacies immigration law will still be difficult to navigate without advice or assistance.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Bill would let illegal immigrants drive legally," Monique Garcia and Dan Hinkel, Nov. 21, 2012

  • Our firm has experience handling a wide variety of immigration-related issues. To learn more, please visit our Chicago immigration page.

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Godoy Olivieri, Ltd.-An immigration law firm

2021 Midwest Road
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Chicago, IL. 60608
312-445-0591 local
800-264-2752 toll free
630-705-5258 fax
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