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Fox Valley reps weigh in on immigrant license vote

Darlene Senger

Darlene Senger

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Updated: February 10, 2013 6:09PM

Voting to support driver’s licenses for undocumented workers was one of the few decisions that she’s made right on the House floor, state Rep. Darlene Senger said Tuesday.

“After I heard the debate on the House floor, I felt we had thought this through very carefully,” the Naperville Republican said. “Some points were emotional, some points addressed the pros, cons, the risk — but the sponsor did a very good job addressing legitimate concerns.”

It’s not only Latinos the law will affect, she said — undocumented immigrants living here from China, Pakistan and India will soon be able to drive lawfully and acquire car insurance. Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign the House- and Senate-approved bill into law.

State Rep. Kay Hatcher, a Yorkville Republican, said she voted against the bill because many police officers were concerned that there was no requirement for fingerprinting.

“The more I heard about it, the more it started to sound like the wide-open West,” Hatcher said.

She said many of her constituents expressed opinions that “go back to the very definition of ‘illegal is illegal.’ ”

“And so I represented their interests,” Hatcher said.

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, an Aurora Democrat, said it’s safer and “extremely logical” to have undocumented immigrants trained how to drive, licensed by the state and paying for car insurance. She voted for the bill Tuesday.

“And it’s extremely important as far as national security that we know where people live,” she said.

House Minority Leader Tom Cross, an Oswego Republican, also voted in favor of the bill, which will allow the estimated 200,000 to 250,000 undocumented people living in Illinois to obtain a license.

“The bottom line is that this legislation he believes will help improve public safety in our communities,” said Cross spokesman Sara Wojcicki Jimenez.

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