Illinois becomes fourth state to allow driver's licenses for undocumented

Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:18pm EST

Related Topics

(Reuters) - Illinois Governor Pat Quinn on Sunday signed a law allowing undocumented immigrants to apply for driver's licenses, in a move he said would improve road safety.

Undocumented immigrants can also obtain driver's licenses in New Mexico and Washington state, while Utah allows driving permits.

"Despite the stalemate on immigration reform in Washington D.C., Illinois is moving forward," Quinn said in a statement. "This common sense law will help everybody, regardless of their background, learn the rules of the road, pass a driving test and get insurance."

In Washington, Democratic and Republican senators are preparing a bipartisan plan to overhaul U.S. immigration laws. On Sunday, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona said on ABC's "This Week" program that such a plan could be introduced as early as this week.

Illinois' law will require undocumented immigrant drivers to take a driving test and carry car insurance in a state where an estimated 250,000 illegal immigrants are believed to be driving, supporters of the law said.

Unlicensed, uninsured drivers are believed to be involved in about 80,000 accidents in Illinois each year, resulting in $660 million in damage, according to the Illinois Highway Safety Coalition.

The driver's license legislation met strong opposition from state Republicans when it was first introduced in Illinois. But their position softened since President Barack Obama won re-election with large support from Hispanic voters and Illinois Democrats made big gains in the state legislature.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Edith Honan and Stacey Joyce)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see
Comments (5)
Globalman wrote:
Sorry this makes no sense. I was rear ended by an ilegal with a drivers license who was driving at a high rate of speed. He left the state following the accident. He had no reason to stay in the area and take responsibility because he was an illegal witn no local ties. While a legal resident could have driven in a reckless manner, the point is that a legal has a reason to stay and take responsibility and would leave a identity to trail if he or she tried to disappear. So how did this illegal because he had a drivers license make the road safer?

Jan 28, 2013 7:53am EST  --  Report as abuse
ballsy wrote:
No sense at all. If the current laws were enforced, there would be NO illegal immigrants. Last time i was in Illinois, I was involved in an accident as well. Some guy in a pick-up rear-ended me and caused 5 car pile-up. Of course he fled the scene, so what makes them think illegals would stay at accept responsibility?

Jan 28, 2013 9:15am EST  --  Report as abuse
BlueOkie wrote:
If they are here illegally what makes anyone think they’d obey this part of thelaw

Jan 28, 2013 11:49am EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus