Illinois governor signs bill granting undocumented immigrants access to regular driver's licenses

'This legislation is a significant step in eliminating the barriers to opportunity that many undocumented immigrants face,' said Pritzker.

Illinois governor signs bill granting undocumented immigrants access to regular driver's licenses
AP Photo/Evan Vucci
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On Friday, Illinois Democrat Governor J.B. Pritzker approved a bill that grants the ability for undocumented immigrants to obtain regular driver's licenses.

The legislation, known as House Bill 3882, is set to become operational on July 1, 2024. It enables illegal immigrants to utilize driver's licenses as valid forms of identification, although they are not eligible for Real ID travel purposes, the Daily Wire reports.

“This legislation is a significant step in eliminating the barriers to opportunity that many undocumented immigrants face,” said Pritzker. “We’re ensuring every eligible individual can obtain a driver’s license, making our roads safer, decreasing stigma, and creating more equitable systems for all.”

“Providing access to a standard Illinois Driver’s License for our undocumented immigrants is about breaking down barriers that lead to discrimination,” said Democratic Lt. Governor Julia Stratton.

At present, undocumented immigrants residing in the state have the option to acquire a Temporary Visitor Driver's License (TVDL), distinguishable by the acronym "TVDL" displayed prominently at the top.

“TVDLs have become the ‘Scarlet Letter’ of an individual’s immigration status and sadly exposes them to discrimination or immigration enforcement,” said Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. “This legislation allows immigrants to obtain standard driver licenses that will serve as authentic identification in Illinois.” He added that the policy would “help prevent the stigma, instances of discrimination, and problems that TVDLs have been known to cause.”

According to certain estimates, Illinois is home to approximately 425,000 undocumented immigrants.

In recent developments, state legislators successfully passed HB 3751, a bill aimed at enabling eligible DACA recipients to serve as law enforcement officers. However, Governor Pritzker has not yet signed the bill into law. It's worth noting that this legislation raises concerns as it potentially violates federal law, which specifies that only American citizens can hold law enforcement positions.

The rationale provided by the legislature appears to be based on the prediction that DACA recipients will eventually attain citizenship.

Chicago has faced challenges in accommodating individuals from other countries and asylum seekers who have illegally crossed the border. To address this issue, the city has recently approved a contentious initiative to allocate $51 million in funding. This financial support aims to provide housing for approximately 10,000 foreign nationals who have arrived in Chicago within the past year.

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  • By David Menzies

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