Illiois becomes 4th state to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants
January 27, 2013 ( SPRINGFIELD, Ill.) (WLS) -- Illinois has become the fourth and largest state to make driver's licenses available to undocumented immigrants.
Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill Sunday creating temporary visitor driver's licenses that he and other backers say will make roads safer and will help pave the way for national immigration reform. Others aren't so sure.
Each day, thousands of immigrants are on Illinois roads, going to work, school, grocery shopping.
And with each trip there was a risk.
Would they be pulled over and deported?
Now that fear is eliminated as Illinois became the fourth state to allow immigrant driver's licenses.
Governor Pat Quinn was joined by several politicians and dozens of Illinois residents who look forward to having a temporary visitor driver's license for undocumented immigrants.
"It's a huge sense of security to not fear that my parents are going be arrested, that my parents aren't going to be deported," said Erendira Rendon.
The new license has a purple border on the top.
It is not for identification but for driving legally.
"We want no one on the roads that isn't properly licensed to be in the road," Quinn said. "Save lives, save money, make our economy better, make our society better."
The new law got bipartisan support.
A bipartisanship that some hope to see nationally.
"That kind of message gets to the folks in DC and says, 'hey they did work together on a big issue,' then that's good and I hope it does have some impact on all of the issues before Congress," said Illinois Rep. Tom Cross (R-Minority Leader).
"There's no reason that Illinois can't continue to be the leader on these great social issues," said U.S. Rep Danny Davis (D-Chicago).
"So goes Illinois, so goes the country and we will have the same type of bipartisanship to achieve the American dream at a national level," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.
Maria Eugenia is relieved to have an option to drive legally.
She rarely drove her kids to school or events.
Now she looks forward to going back to school and feeling confident in her right the drive.
"I have a lot if emotions because I can feel free. When I see the police, nothing happen, I've got my license," she said.
"I do feel better," said Nicole Ixtilco. "Some of the weight was lifted off my shoulders."
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says immigrants may begin applying for the license in ten months.
The 10-month delay is to allow his office to prepare to implement the program.
The temporary visitor driver's license would only be valid with auto insurance.
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