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First test on Latino rights coming soon

Tuesday, Nov 20, 2012

* I’ve been telling my subscribers about this push lately, in context of the unexpectedly strong Latino vote this year

Virtually every big-name politician in Illinois, with the exception of the two Republican legislative leaders, will gather Tuesday to support an upcoming push to license as many as 250,000 undocumented immigrants to drive in Illinois.

In a nearly unprecedented show of support, Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar, GOP state comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and state Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago) plan to sign on to the immigrant-rights driving initiative and attend Tuesday’s press conference in support of it.

The event, sponsored by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, aims to highlight legislation in the works that would equip undocumented immigrants with three-year temporary driver’s licenses, said Lawrence Benito, chief executive officer and executive director for the group.

The proposal that likely will be voted on sometime during the post-election legislative session that spans from later this month through early January will be a variation from 2007 legislation for undocumented immigrant drivers that narrowly passed the House but failed to get called for a vote in the Senate, he said.

“I don’t think it’s going to be as hard a sell [as 2007], but we’re belts-and-suspenders people. We’ll work until it gets signed into law,” said Benito said. “I do think there will be strong bipartisan support for it based on who’s showing up [Tuesday].”

* Treasurer Dan Rutherford is among the Republicans not scheduled to appear today. More from the Sun-Times

Not on Tuesday’s lineup of political attendees is House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego) and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont).

“This is the closest thing that Springfield sees to the immigration debate. If the Republican Party wants to show good faith in doing outreach to the Latino and immigrant community, this is a bill that would show good faith, that they weren’t Johnny-come-latelys.”

A Cross spokeswoman said she was not certain what Cross’ posture on the legislation would be and noted that the House Republican caucus has not yet met to discuss the initiative.

* The Republicans have paid a lot of lip service to Latinos since election day. But this will be one of the first opportunities in the country to actually court that vote. Edgar and Topinka know what’s what. Others? Maybe not so much. The right wing hates it. But one of the far Right’s Illinois heroes has recently jumped on board

Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran is backing proposed legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses, saying it’s an economic imperative for our financially struggling state.

“We need them to be getting to work,” Curran said. “We need them to have driver’s licenses.” […]

Elected sheriff as a Democrat in 2006 and re-elected as a Republican in 2010, Curran initially had a fairly hard-line view. He was the first sheriff in Illinois to request jail officers be given formal deportation powers, and he backed a program that helps identify illegal immigrants arrested in the county.

By early 2010, however, Curran was endorsing national immigration reform and calling for a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

A devout Catholic, Curran has said discussions with Catholic leaders prompted the change in attitude.

He quoted the biblical Gospel of Matthew when explaining his position, saying, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

Just a few years ago, Sheriff Curran wanted deportation powers for his deputies.

Illinois Review claims that Edgar and Topinka “defied the Illinois Republican Party’s policy platform on the issue.” But a party platform is not holy writ. If it was, a whole lot of people on both sides of the aisle would be routinely excommunicated.

* Video of the press conference is available here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:17 am:

    –Illinois Review claims that Edgar and Topinka “defied the Illinois Republican Party’s policy platform on the issue.” –

    Good. For. Them. More. Please.

    One of the more fascinating/weirdo positions in the right-wing alternative universe is that folks leave their homes and sneak into the United States to go on welfare.

    They come here to work. They do the harsh work most folks don’t want to do. You can see them all around you if you care to open your eyes.

    The United States economy would collapse without the low-wage muscle of the undocumented and the working poor.

  2. - S. Dolopoulos - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:20 am:

    Driver’s licenses are a mistake. Non-photo permits? Sure.

    But recent studies of the experience in states such as New Mexico, Washington and others offering such driver’s licenses clearly demonstrate this fails to reduce the number of uninsured drivers while generating a host of new problems.

    There are other methods of reaching out to the Latino community. This, however, is a hasty mistake by Democrats and Republicans alike.

  3. - Conservative Republican - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:22 am:

    ICIRR sponsored and joined by almost every high ranking Democrat? And the timing so “urgent”? This is a Democrats show, and an attempt to jam the Republicans on the issue. ICIRR is very left wing. Thompson and Edgar, who no longer have any clout within the Republican Party (and don’t even bother to have any) are merely showboating. The GOP has to do better with Latinos, but simply bowing down under these circumstances is neither necessary nor helpful. This will pass and will be unremembered two years from now.

  4. - Conservative Republican - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:23 am:

    Meaning this event will pass and will be unremembered. The legislation will likely pass due to super-majorities.

  5. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:26 am:

    ===This will pass and will be unremembered two years from now. ===

    I wouldn’t bet money on that.

  6. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    ===The legislation will likely pass due to super-majorities. ===

    This will be voted on during the veto session, starting next week. No super majorities in either chamber yet.

  7. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:33 am:

    ===Not on Tuesday’s lineup of political attendees is House Minority Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego)…===

    58 and Sunny in Oswego today. Not many “Golf” days left!

    Huge mistake by the “Irrelevent” Leaders. Are you both TRYING to be even more exclusive?

    Cookie-Cutter candidates don’t win everywhere, and if you refuse to even be part of the discussion, then even being called “Irrelevent” Leaders is not snarky enough.

    Give me 3 shots a side, Tom, and I’ll see ya at Fox Bend. Nothing else is going on, right?

  8. - Phil - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    @ Conservative Republican
    “CIRR is very left wing”? What’s your basis for this assertion? Is it “very left wing” to advocate on behalf of groups in our state who’s needs would otherwise go un/under addressed? Illinois, like a lot other states in the U.S. has a large undocumented immigrant population. In reality, many of them won’t be leaving the state anytime soon, if ever. Why not start the process of trying to turn unlicensed, undocumented drivers into licensed ones? With insurance.

  9. - John A Logan - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:35 am:

    The fact that this is cause for a serious debate by people is just one more sad indicator as to how far gone this laughable state is.

  10. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:36 am:

    –There are other methods of reaching out to the Latino community.–

    The right-wing “outreach program” of paying Hispanics low wages to cut grass, cook meals, wash dishes and clean the house while making them live outside the law ain’t making it anymore.

    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  11. - Lobo y Olla - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:37 am:

    If this turns out to be a raging success, won’t it ease the way for mandatory ID at the voting booth?

  12. - Liberty_First - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:37 am:

    We should swap Americans who won’t work for illegals who are willing to work very hard.

  13. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:43 am:

    ===won’t it ease the way for mandatory ID at the voting booth? ===


  14. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:48 am:

    S. Dolopoulos: …”generating a host of new problems”

    Really? Pray tell, what are these hosts of new problems? Or are you just throwing around accusations without evidence?

  15. - cassandra - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 11:56 am:

    I’d like to hear what the “host of new problems” were.

    Since the individuals who will apply are probably driving anyway, why not? And why not use the public relations initiative to encourage all drivers to get a license. How many legal residents who drive lack drivers’ licenses, I wonder. I doubt they are majority undocumented. And what is being done to get them into the DMV. An increase in penalties for unlicensed drivers who get caught could be part of any new legislation.

    You just can’t live off the grid anymore, although I suspect many Americans, legal or not, haven’t realized that yet.

  16. - mythoughtis - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 12:00 pm:

    No, no and NO.

    I am all for easing legal immigration, and for the rights of LEGAL immigrants and new citizens. I am not for rewarding illegal behavior with a photo ID and the privilege of driving on our roads.

    We are a nation of laws, we can’t just ignore the ones that are not pre-approved by those who are NOT citizens of our country. I don’t go to other countries in defiance of their laws and expect them to ignore their laws because I want them to.

  17. - Anon - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 12:25 pm:

    I don’t feel strongly one way or the other, but I have an honest question. The Sheriff said he favors this so that undocumented immigrants can get to work. Are they legally allowed to work? If not, how can we pass a law designed to make it easier for them to get to the jobs they are not allowed to have?

  18. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 12:29 pm:

    ===I am not for rewarding illegal behavior with a photo ID===

    Illegal immigration is a civil, not criminal, matter.

  19. - Skeeter - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 12:30 pm:

    I love the “BUT WE ARE A NATION OF LAWS!” argument. How many of those people drive the speed limit? They believe in laws that they like, when those laws are convenient.

    I’m not convinced that this will help get people auto insurance. Insurers are looking at questions beyond just whether a person has a license. I know the insurance lobby is not sold on it.

    On the other hand though, I fail to see how it can do much damage. The people are here. Unless you are going to round them all up, they are going to be here a while. It seems to make sense to assimilate them where possible.

    I just don’t see the up side to opposing it. In a worst case, it is not going to cause any real damage. It might help people get insurance. Supporting it tells a group of people that you don’t hate them.

    The GOP apparently has decided to pick a fight on this one, and I don’t see any gain. Do they think they are going to lose the “lock them all up” crowd? Do they think suburban women will be outraged that undocumented workers can get licensed? What’s to be gained by opposing this?

    Ultimately, this is just more proof than when it comes to politics, the ILGOP is just not very good.

  20. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 12:43 pm:

    Look, this isn’t controversial in the least. These people are here, they own cars and they are driving on our roads. Every day.

    Why wouldn’t we want them to pass a basic rules of the road test and get insurance? Wouldn’t that make us all safer?

    How do you think State Farm and Allstate feel about this bill? Last I checked, they’re not the most liberal companies in Illinois.

  21. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    I wonder:

    Were the Pilgrims illegal immigrants?

    I suspect the Mexicans who lost Texas, New Mexico and California after the war in 1847 probably considered that an illegal act.

    The Cherokee who were pushed off their legally titled land and made to walk the Trail of Tears probably thought of the robbers as illegal immigrants.

    The whole country was built on illegal immigration, come to think of it.

  22. - OneMan - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 12:44 pm:

    Well if they increase the penalty for not having insurance and a license then I am cool with it.

  23. - STP - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 1:03 pm:

    I welcome the requirement that they have insurance - I have had the financial stress of being in a major accident caused by an illegal - who went back across the border

  24. - shore - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 1:10 pm:

    You need a password for the bluestreamroom thing.

    Edgar really needs to go away. He’s a bit like these parents who you see at 6 year old soccer games cheering like hooligans at a world cup soccer game or helicopter parents who call their 25 year olds 6 times a day at work.

  25. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 1:14 pm:

    - I suspect the Mexicans who lost Texas, New Mexico and California after the war in 1847 probably considered that an illegal act. -

    There was this guy named Abe Lincoln that thought the same thing. He must have been a real left wing nutter.

  26. - Dirty Red - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 1:29 pm:

    = But recent studies of the experience in states such as New Mexico, Washington and others offering such driver’s licenses clearly demonstrate this fails to reduce the number of uninsured drivers while generating a host of new problems. =

    You mean increasing the number of drivers means the number of violators goes up, too? Oh dear. Say it ain’t so!

  27. - Hacks - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 1:45 pm:

    Let’s also let them vote. Why not? Illinois can’t do worse?

  28. - S. Dolopoulos - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 2:01 pm:

    Joe Bidenopoulos === Pray tell, what are these hosts of new problems? Or are you just throwing around accusations without evidence? ===

    Google is a very useful tool in the modern age for folks who wish to research before posting.

    Sources you may wish to consider checking include:
    - The Insurance Research Council’s 1986 - 2011 Uninsured Motorist research and reports

    - Research studies by New Mexico State University professor Tim Query, a member of their Finance, Actuarial Science and Insurance Studies staffs.

    - Politifact

    - The New Mexico State University and Duquesne University study published in September of last year.

    - the Associated Press or multiple local news sources in the relevant, respective states.

    Pray tell, how have you not noticed these legitimate concerns raised by neutral parties with first-hand experience on this issue? Are you ignoring evidence to distort legitimate concerns?

  29. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 2:08 pm:

    S. Dolopoulos:

    Are you incapable of articulating even one of these no doubt inviolable truths?

  30. - S. Dolopoulos - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 2:11 pm:

    @Joe Bidenopoulos: An additional fact worth considering is that:

    “A dozen states in the last 10 years have repealed laws that allowed people to obtain driver’s licenses without proof of immigration status.”

    Need a hint? Perhaps try starting with the 8/07/11 El Paso Times. Many other sources are available, but that’s the simplest, cleanest summary to share here.

    This issue is worth discussing, figuring out and doing properly - not hastily pushing something through in the aftermath of election day.

    Let’s do this right if we are going to do it at all.

  31. - Joe Bidenopoulous - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 2:26 pm:

    S. Dolopoulos:

    I don’t normally wade into crazy conspiracy theories, but just for fun I did here.

    The NMSU study you reference indicates that rates of uninsured drivers are not impacted significantly by giving DLs to undocumented folks. I’ll go out on a limb and guess that no one really thinks the only uninsured out there are undocumented.

    It does not identify even a single “new problem” let alone a host of them. You get a fail there.

    Your 8/7/11 El Paso Times: I assume it’s this:

    That’s a blog post that matter of factly lists what’s happened with respect to the law in several states. There is not a single instance in there where a “new problem” is identified.

    Care to try again? Might be easier for you to just state what you think these “new problems” are since you’re obviously not very good at citing your work.

  32. - Brendan - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 2:36 pm:

    I’m not against the measure, but I also don’t consider it to be necessary. Since that overwhelming majority of the undocumented that this would impact are Mexican nationals, they can get documentation (such as a Mexican driver’s license) by going to their local consular office.

  33. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 2:42 pm:

    I’m surprised at Curran’s turnaround. I remember not too long ago police were targeting illegals for car insurance/license violations, confiscating their vehicles and charging owners $500 to get them back on top of fines and towing charges in my Lake County community. I’m happy to see the change.

  34. - transplant - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 3:07 pm:

    New Mexico is one of 24 states that have received letters from the Homeland Security Department saying they are not in compliance with the Real ID program, partially because of New Mexico’s law allowing illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses.
    This could result in New Mexico residents not being allowed to board a plane leaving New Mexico without some other form of ID, such as a passport.
    I’m for the move, but this is an issue that would have to be addressed.

  35. - Lobo y Olla - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 4:03 pm:

    ==Illegal immigration is a civil, not criminal, matter.====

    Only for the 1st deportation Rich. Then it’s mandatory pen time.

  36. - wizard - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 5:06 pm:

    How would motor/voter issues be addressed? Must ensure against non citizens voting.

  37. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:37 pm:

    S. Dolopoulous
    The Highway Safety Coalition backing the driver’s license bill states that since New Mexico made this change in 2003, its rate of uninsured motorists fell from 33% to under 9%. New Mexico also saw a 24% decrease in alcohol-related crashes and a 25% drop in traffic fatalities.

    Do you have any evidence that this data is wrong?

  38. - Hickory - Tuesday, Nov 20, 12 @ 9:44 pm:

    Simply: Do anything to get elected or reelected.

  39. - JohnBoy - Wednesday, Nov 21, 12 @ 9:19 am:

    I have no problem for those illegal immigants having a driver license and insurance. The only exceptions would be for those who are employed part time or full time and at least 21 years of age. It must be closely monitored and renewed annually with an increased fee, due to their illegal status. It would be a step in improving self esteem and assuning additional personal responsibility for those involved.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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