Wednesday, Dec 11, 2013
Illegal Immigrants Set to Receive Driver's Licenses
WSIL -- Illegal immigrants living in Illinois are just weeks away from being able to apply for a state driver's license.
On Tuesday, the Secretary of State's office announced it will begin accepting appointments for the new license starting on November 12th.
Supporters say the law will save Illinois motorists money and ensure more drivers have insurance and know the rules of the road. Critics say there's a potential for identity fraud.
Maria Sanchez lives in Carbondale. Many of her friends and relatives are illegal immigrants and are in favor of the new law, "They think it's a good idea. I have neighbors that don't have a driver's license and they walk. It takes them forever."
Under the new law undocumented immigrants are eligible for a three-year temporary driver's license.
State officials are still unsure of how many people will apply for the license, given fears undocumented workers have about coming forward with identities.
"They will probably be afraid at first to get the license because they will think maybe they are going to be caught and be deported," said Sanchez.
The state estimates as many as 500,000 undocumented immigrants could be living in Illinois.
Secretary of State Jesse White says the new law means more drivers will be insured.
"Individuals now will have insurance cards," said White. "The driver's license is not valid without the insurance card."
To receive the license applicants must take a written test and road exam, pay a $30 application fee and have lived in Illinois for at least a year.
"We are glad and honored to make this document available for those who have come to this great state who want to be able to go from home to work," explained White.
The licenses are to be used only for driving and cannot be used as identification.
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