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Letter to the Editor

Updated: January 3, 2013 6:20AM

Illegals should be
allowed to obtain
driver’s licenses

The Immigrant Welcoming Congregations of Fox Valley and various faith-based groups serving in the immigrant community are urging the Illinois General Assembly to provide the opportunity for immigrants to receive a Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License (TVDL).

There are approximately 250,000 Illinois immigrant drivers that cannot get a license because they are ineligible to get Social Security number. Changing the current law to allow immigrants to use an Individual Taxpayer Number (ITIN) as an alternative to a Social Security Number would improve public safety, save money for all drivers and further aid in keeping families together.

The current bills in the legislature would require immigrants to complete driver’s education and secure proof of insurance before receiving the TVDL. This would improve public safety. Local law enforcement agencies affirm that this initiative will improve safety for their officers and the general public.

Among those who have supported this measure include Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart, Will County Sheriff Paul Kaupus, Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, and Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez. In addition, several faith-based organizations currently call for this legislation to be passed including the Chicago Religious Leadership Network, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, Justice for Our Neighbors, the Bishops of the Catholic Conference of Illinois and the Illinois Safety Coalition.

With fewer uninsured drivers on the road, premiums could be reduced for everyone. According to research done by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Illinois Secretary of State, if even half of the currently unlicensed immigrant drivers secured insurance, the cost for an individually policy could be reduced by $59 or more a year.

All too often, a simple traffic stop for some undocumented immigrants leads to deportation proceedings. People who are otherwise law-abiding members of the community are deported leaving behind children, families and other who depend on them. According to the Applied Research Center, in 2011 there were at least 5,100 children in Illinois living in foster care because their parents were either detained or deported.

The Immigrant Welcoming Congregations of Fox Valley calls on the Illinois General Assembly to provide this opportunity for immigrants to receive a Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License as a benefit to all the residents of Illinois.

Roger L. Curless


Justice for Our Neighbors

Immigrant Legal Services

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