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Momentum builds for licenses for undocumented immigrants as Republicans cooperate

Thursday, Nov 29, 2012

* If you’re watching our live veto session coverage, you already know that the Senate Executive Committee approved a Republican-backed amendment that helps ensure passage of a bill to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain special drivers licenses. From the amendment

A temporary visitor’s driver’s license is invalid if the holder is unable to provide proof of liability insurance as required by Section 7-601 of this Code upon the request of a law enforcement officer, in which case the holder commits a violation of Section 6-101 of this Code.

* From the Senate Republicans’ Twitter feed

Radogno on SB 957: This is a tough issue but not a new issue. We are placed in this situation because of inaction from Fed Gov.

Radogno: We have taken steps to ensure there is as little fraud as possible. Important to monitor this & see how we can make better if abuse

* Yesterday afternoon, conservative Republican state Sen. Bill Brady announced he was supporting the legislation. From a press release…

Senator Bill Brady said today he will support legislation to improve traffic safety and lower insurance costs for Illinois motorists by permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain temporary visitors drivers licenses already allowed for many other foreign-born individuals.

At Brady’s urging, language is included in the bill to stipulate that the temporary visitors driver’s licenses cannot be used for purposes of identification, such as registering to vote, boarding an airplane or purchasing a firearm.

“I am pleased that the sponsors of the legislation and the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights addressed my concerns and agreed that the temporary visitors licenses should include notification in bold type that they cannot be used for identification purposes,” said Brady, an Assistant Senate Republican Leader from Bloomington.

Brady said he decided to support and co-sponsor the legislation because of valid economic arguments for licensing an estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrants in Illinois. Other states which have implemented similar provisions, such as Utah, have seen dramatic numbers of their undocumented immigrants become licensed and purchase the required auto insurance.

“Without licenses, our law enforcement officers cannot check their driving records, and without licenses, Illinois motorists are footing the bill for their uninsured motor vehicle accidents,” Brady said.

“This isn’t just an issue in the City of Chicago. It’s also an issue in the suburbs and Downstate areas where the Latino population is growing.”

Brady is no stranger to the illegal immigration issue. He strongly supported in-state tuition for the children of undocumented immigrants.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - The Other Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:16 am:

    Good for the Republicans. It’s a common sense proposal. A part of me wonders, though, how much the national election results played into the sudden cooperation of Republicans on this issue.

  2. - x ace - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:16 am:

    State Farm

  3. - I don't want to live in Teabagistan - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:27 am:

    I read one article during the election season that said that over the next 20 years, 50K Latinos will reach voting age every month on average.

    The GOP cannot simply cede this ground. Maybe fences and ID checks play in Arizona, but not here.

    The Wall Street Journal Editorial page (yeh, I know), once stated in an editorial that if all illegal immigrants were to disappear tomorrow, half the restaurants in Chicago would close. You cannot ignore that illegal immigrants are part of the economy and community. And the vast majority are law-abiding except for the fact they came here without going through a process. Hopefully, this is the first step in getting that process–if enough states show they have had enough, the Federal Government will act.

  4. - reformer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:30 am:

    Wow, Bill Brady! If someone that conservative can co-sponsor this bill, that should give cover to other Republicans who also belatedly enlightened on this issue. As Ev Dirksen once said, “I see the light when I feel the heat!”

  5. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:36 am:

    As a real estate developer, Brady can’t help but know the critical role that undocumented immigrants play in the economy.

    Who do you think is shingling the roofs, putting up the drywall and landscaping the grounds?

    You can pretend they’re not there, but man, you’d miss them if they were gone.

  6. - walkinfool - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:54 am:

    Wow! Times change.

    As little as two years ago, to even bring this up as a possibility, would have the average GA Republican’s head burst into flames.

  7. - soccermom - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 11:56 am:

    Is there anyone who can say with absolute certainty whether people who do NOT have driver’s licenses can get car insurance? I would assume not, and the websites I’ve looked at say the same thing. But someone told me she was hit by an unlicensed driver who had insurance.

  8. - reformer - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:17 pm:

    It was only four years ago that Republicans demogogued this issue to attack Democrats who voted for it the last time it came up. I wonder how many suburban Dems will take a more conservative stance their their rightwing Republican counterparts???

  9. - Elder - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:17 pm:

    Finally. Some sanity. A long wait!

  10. - downstate commissioner - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 12:45 pm:

    Was surprised to see that Brady was supporting this bill, but x ace hit it right on the head. State Farm stands to make a lot of money off of this, and any legislator from Bloomington has to pay attention to them.

  11. - Crime Fighter - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 3:24 pm:

    Republicans have a history of being liberal about drivers’ licensing. (See Citizens for George Ryan)

  12. - mokenavince - Thursday, Nov 29, 12 @ 5:09 pm:

    Finally the GOP is starting to get smart.It’s not liberal it’s smart, this way they must have insurance and obey the law.Legalize Weed and collect a tax, it will get the pusher off the
    street and lobbying in Springfield.

    Just like booze it will lay a golden tax egg.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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