Undocumented immigrants get the right to drive in Illinois


Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a law that grants drivers licenses to hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants.


Stephen Chernin

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn will sign a bill into law Sunday granting undocumented immigrants the right to receive drivers licenses.

The law makes Illinois the fourth and most populous state to allow undocumented immigrants to earn the right to drive, reports the Huffington Post. 

“This new law will ensure every motorist is properly licensed to drive. It’s the right thing to do,” a spokesperson for the Governor said in a statement published by NBCLatino. 

Supporters of the new law call it a public-safety measure and said that people will get behind the wheel with or without licenses. 

“They have to continue to bring their kids to school or go to church or drive to work,” said Lawrence Benito, president of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, one of the chief lobbying groups behind the bill.

“This is a common-sense approach to make sure undocumented immigrants are licensed, trained and insured to drive.”

However, critics claim there are serious fraud and security issues that come with granting hundreds of thousands of new licenses to undocumented immigrants. 

According to the Huffington Post, critics point to hundreds of cases of fraud in New Mexico, Washington and Utah after their governments granted drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants. 

Applicants in Illinois will not be required to be fingerprinted out of fear it would discourage undocumented immigrants from applying. 

The move comes days before President Barack Obama is expected to lay out new plans for comprehensive immigration reform, according to Yahoo News. 

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary said the president will travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday for a policy speech on immigration. 

He said the president aims "to redouble the administration's efforts to work with Congress to fix the broken immigration system this year."