House passes law allowing illegal immigrants to get driver's licenses

By WEEK Reporter

January 8, 2013 Updated Jan 8, 2013 at 10:59 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- On Tuesday, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a law that allows illegal immigrants to acquire a license with the proper paperwork.

After a lengthy discussion during the last day of the lame duck session at the state Capitol, the full House voted in favor of the bill 65 to 46.

The new law permits three-year driver's licenses for immigrants who can prove they've lived in the state's for more than one year and have proper identification.

According to the Highway Safety Coalition, there are about 250,000 illegal immigrants in Illinois who are driving without licenses or insurance.

The group says that has resulted in millions of dollars in insurance claims.

Still, opponents like State Representative Don Moffitt, say the bill isn't perfect.

"The Illinois Police Chief Association remained opposed, and they had some concerns.," said Rep. Moffitt, (R), of the 74th District. "One of those was that the person applying for a driver's license really was that person, so they wanted fingerprinting. I think that was a reasonable request."

Governor Pat Quinn said in a statement that he was pleased with the passing of the measure.

“I want to commend members of the Illinois House for their bipartisan passage of legislation that will help ensure every Illinois motorist is properly licensed and empower more immigrants to become stronger contributors to our economy," said Quinn.

Governor Quinn concluded his statement by saying that he was looking forward to signing the bill.

The law will go into effect ten months after Governor Quinn signs it.

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