Illinois Senate Approves Drivers Licenses For Undocumented Immig - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Illinois Senate Approves Drivers Licenses For Undocumented Immigrants

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The Illinois State Senate passed a bill 41 to 14 that would let undocumented immigrants apply for drivers licenses.

Once they earn one those drivers would be able to buy insurance and drive on the roads legally.

Proponents of the bill say it's all about safety.

It's estimated 250-thousand illegal immigrants live in Illinois.

When unlicensed and uninsured drivers get in a wreck, it's up to the rest of the insured population to pick up the 64 million dollar price tag.

Lawmakers say this bill will address that.

"It's time in this state that we recognize there is a problem, we have to take the blinders off, address the problem, hit it head on, and take care and protect our citizens in this state," says Representative Angelo Saviano, Republican from Elmwood park.

Most of us need a car to get to work, to buy groceries, to see our families.

Undocumented immigrants have the same needs, which is why other supporters say the law is a good one.

"This is all about safety, this is about people being able to get a drivers license and buy insurance are also for the rest of us on the road,but if we get hit by somebody who's uninsured, it would be tough for us to try to collect," says Hola American publisher Tarsicio Macias.

He knows firsthand what it's like to live without a driver's license. His mother was not born in the U.S. She had to wait five years to get citizenship. A time when Macias made a difficult decision..

"A period of time for which I didn't have any documents, I was in between the age of 18, 19, for a while I was driving without a drivers license, without insurance, and it was very nerve wracking to be driving like that."

The point of the bill is to prevent undocumented immigrants from facing that path. If signed into law it would provide a temporary license to Illinois residents who would normally not qualify for a license. They would still have to pass the drivers test. The temporary license could not be used to vote, or board a plane.

"This is not a path for citizenship for anybody this is just an issue for safety," says Macias.

The license would require each holder to have proof of liability insurance. Letting these undocumented immigrants drive in the clear.

"Let's face it, they're driving they have to get from point a to point b, like all of us in the Quad Cities."

The bill now heads to the state house for a vote.

If passed there, Governor Pat Quinn could sign the bill into law.

He has said he supports the bill.

Opponents have urged the federal government to address comprehensive immigration reform.