House panel endorses immigrant driver’s licenses

2013-01-08T06:00:00Z House panel endorses immigrant driver’s licensesBY L.E. HLAVACH, THE SOUTHERN SPRINGFIELD BUREAU The Southern

SPRINGFIELD — More than a quarter million illegal immigrants are one step closer to being able to apply for a special driver’s license.

A House committee Monday voted 6-3 to recommend passage of a provision that would allow illegal immigrants who can prove that they have lived in Illinois for at least a year to apply for a special, three-year driver’s license.

A final House vote might be taken today. The Senate approved the measure in December, and Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would sign such a provision.

Supporters estimate more than 250,000 illegal immigrants might qualify for such a license.

The special license could not be used for other purposes, such as boarding an airplane or casting a ballot.

Although the measure has been proposed in the past, it gained new support from a number of top state Republicans after Hispanic voters turned their backs on the GOP in the November elections.

At a hearing Monday, opponents urged legislators to require applicants to be fingerprinted and show proof of a federal tax identification number.

State Rep. Dennis Reboletti, R-Addison, said other states that issue similar special driver’s licenses have had a problem with fraud.

But measure sponsor Rep. Edward Acevedo, D-Chicago, said the Illinois Secretary of State’s use of a facial recognition database and the requirement that applicants prove they have been living in Illinois for at least one year should help prevent people from obtaining such licenses fraudulently.

Laimutis Nargelenas, a lobbyist representing the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, and Hanover Park Police Chief David Webb testified against the proposal Monday. Both still urged that applicants be required to provide fingerprints and a federal tax identification number.

“We think fingerprinting is a very big issue,” Webb said.

While proponents said fingerprinting would cost too much in time and money, both Webb and Nargelenas said fingerprinting could be done inexpensively by local police, most who now use digital fingerprinting software.

Nathan Mattox, executive inspector general for the Secretary of State’s office, did not think an applicant should have to supply a federal tax number because such numbers in the past have not been very reliable, although he admitted that the federal revenue department has been working to improve its process.

Fred Tsao, policy director with the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said the requirement that applicants prove that they have been living in Illinois for a year, an approach so far unique to this state, should help address fraud concerns.

But several Illinois Republicans, who had not attended Monday’s hearing, echoed some of Reboletti’s concerns.

Rep. Rich Morthland, R-Cordova, said he was “disinclined” to vote in favor of the proposal but said he was still open.

“I think the bill has a lot of problems,” Morthland said. “So far, I haven’t seen anything I’m ready to jump on.”

Morthland said he had particular concerns that people may be able to use aliases to get licenses.

Rep. Adam Brown, R-Decatur, said he would oppose the provision. “I support the rights of all folks who are here legally,” Brown said, adding that the ability to get a driver’s license should not be given to people who have not taken steps to become a citizen.

Rep. Keith Sommer, R-Morton, said he could not support such a special license. “My belief is driving is a privilege, not a right, and I don’t think it should be extended to those here illegally.”

Sommer said he also was not convinced that the proposal would really help keep highways safer, as proponents have argued.

The legislation is Senate Bill 957.


Copyright 2015 The Southern. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. MMike
    Report Abuse
    MMike - January 09, 2013 6:08 am
    Joe, some dots were not meant to be connected. Gay rights and illegal immigration are different issues. Gays have always been with us. There is no rational basis to discriminate against them. To do so was and is unjust.

    Immigration is different. We have to right to control who comes here and to kick out those who came here illegally. The problem is a practical one. Over the years we let them come here to do work as low paid laborers. We ate the fruit and vegetables they picked. Many of us live and work in building they helped build or repair. There are now around 12 million of them. Many have settled here, some have married citizens and some have raised children here. It is just not practical to deport them all. It would cost too much and we've become dependent on them in some areas. We cannot turn back the clock 20 or 30 years and set up guest worker programs, crack down on those who hire illegals and have reasonable means for legal immigrants to settle here when this would benefit them and us. We have no one to blame but ourselves. We are doing a better job with border control now and have been deporting record numbers of illegals. But we are going have to get practical about dealing with those who have settled here. The "purists" don't have any answers only empty slogans.

  2. OLD JOE
    Report Abuse
    OLD JOE - January 09, 2013 4:33 am
    MMike think about it this way. First gays couldn't serve in the military. Then don't ask don't tell came into play. Now gays can openly serve, then civil unions, and now gay marriage.
    Illegals getting Illinois drivers license is a step closer to voting and running for public office. The door is opening wider. Our politicians is giving our country away!

    I believe marijuana should be legal. But I wouldn't vote to legalize it, that is opening the door to legalize harder drugs in the future.
  3. MMike
    Report Abuse
    MMike - January 08, 2013 10:58 pm
    If I were in a country illegally I'd be extra careful about not breaking any other laws.
  4. MMike
    Report Abuse
    MMike - January 08, 2013 10:56 pm
    Legal immigrants have always been able to get driver's licenses. It does not qualify them to vote. The would be true for illegal immigrants too. Whatever issues there may be with this change, voter fraud is not one of them.
  5. OLD JOE
    Report Abuse
    OLD JOE - January 08, 2013 6:47 pm
    250,000 Illinois illegals immigrants should qualify to be deported, instead of being recognized as liberal hero's.
  6. KaijaJean
    Report Abuse
    KaijaJean - January 08, 2013 6:11 pm
    Oops, I forgot to mention the corruption with the Republican Secretary of State, Ex-Governor & current Federal Inmate George Ryan!
  7. KaijaJean
    Report Abuse
    KaijaJean - January 08, 2013 6:05 pm
    "250,000 illegal immigrants might qualify for such a license"

    That's a whole lotta "displaced foreign travelers".
    But, then again there is the "Motor Voter Bill" that permits voter registration when applying for a license. What will stop illegal aliens from registering to vote in the 3rd most corrupt state in the nation with the 1st most corrupt city in the nation. Here's your license and remember to vote Democrat, "vote early and vote often".
  8. lgjhere
    Report Abuse
    lgjhere - January 08, 2013 3:03 pm
    A new book/ebook explains the role, struggles, and contributions of immigrants and minorities: "What Foreigners Need To Know About America From A To Z: How to understand crazy American culture, people, government, business, language and more." Endorsed by ambassadors, educators, and editors, it paints a revealing picture of America on numerous subjects for those who will benefit from a better understanding. Immigrants and the children they bear account for 60 percent of our nation's population growth and are 60 percent more likely to start a new business than native-born Americans. It identifies "foreigners" who became successful in the US and contributed to our society. However, most struggle in their efforts and need guidance. Perhaps intelligent immigration reform, concerned citizens and books like this can extend a helping hand.

    California and other states are now increasingly devising their own solutions to immigration reform, which has stalled in Washington. A poll shows Californians are overwhelmingly in favor of President Obama's new program granting work permits and a two-year reprieve from deportation to some young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Respondents also favor granting driver's licenses to the same group. It found that most Californians want increased border enforcement and think that local police and sheriffs should have a role in apprehending suspected illegal immigrants. However, Californians seem to be sending a message to the federal government that we should be able to find a solution to this problem, somewhere in between amnesty and deportation.

    Here's a closing quote from the book's Intro: "With all of our cultural differences though, you'll be surprised to learn how much our countries—and we as human beings—have in common on this little third rock from the sun. After all, the song played at our Disneyland parks around the world is 'It's A Small World After All.' Peace."
  9. boone76
    Report Abuse
    boone76 - January 08, 2013 12:18 pm
    My mom and step-dad live in Arizona. They both have serious concerns as to how our federal government concerns itself with our national border. With that said they have no issue with the Mexican people.

    Hispanics are there/here for the LONG haul. My mom even purchased the "Rosetta Stone" series to help her learn Spanish. These folks are not going away. She's just dealing with the reality that is Arizona. As long as they come through the front door.....I have no issue with them (or any other nationality) being here at all.
  10. StraightTalk
    Report Abuse
    StraightTalk - January 08, 2013 11:36 am
    Illegal Immigrants are on their way to being the nations majority. You as the legal non-hispanic American citizen are inches away from being the minority. Talk to people in the border states where not being bilingual is frowned upon, where emergency rooms are crowded with illegal immigrants with fake documents and on medicaid tax payer supported health care. Look forward to the day, very soon, when your children will have difficulty getting into colleges crowded with illegal immigrant children on well meaning but misguided scholarships. Take a few minutes to read how uncontrolled illegal immigration has practically destroyed Great Britain and get a clear picture of the impending destruction of American heritage. Illegal immigrants from Mexico do not want to live as an American under our laws, they want you to change to their culture. If not, you will soon find yourself and future generations shoved to the rear of the protections under our laws, constitution and government. God bless what once was America, where the word Illegal meant breaking the law with consequences not rewards. I think the PC word now is, "unauthorized immigrants", how sickening. Would that mean that we will soon refer to murderers as unauthorized killers? It will take many years and loss of quality of life, but the American public will eventually get fed up and rise up against the injustice of a lack of government enforcement. However, by that time the USA will be governed by unauthorized immigrants, Want to guess what direction that uprising will take?
  11. keepingitreal
    Report Abuse
    keepingitreal - January 08, 2013 9:59 am
    Wrong is wrong! Illegal immigrants are just that illegal. How do you expect them to obey the traffic laws when they are in this country illegally. They already have disrespect for our country and our laws. If the special driver's license for them passes, then a condition for it should be that they apply for citizenship, too. How can our streets be safer with dishonest, lawbreakers behind the wheel. Stop playing politics with ethics, integrity, etc. It is probably part of the reason our youth are confused about their ethics, ... and do not believe as much in honesty, integrity, obeying the law, etc. Get a backbone and stand up for what's right.
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Blagojevich in 1st statement from prison: I'll 'fight on'

CHICAGO — Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich says in his first statement since entering prison that he'll "fight on" in the courts because "what is a… Updated: 4:44 pm

30 minutes ago Related (0)
Rauner planning more state worker layoffs

Rauner planning more state worker layoffs

SPRINGFIELD — Despite a court ruling that allows workers to be paid even though there is no state budget, Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration i… Updated: 4:29 pm

57 minutes ago Related (0)
Sound off: Are political cartoon fliers aiding budget debate?

Sound off: Are political cartoon fliers aiding budget debate?

Illinois has entered month two of the fiscal year with no state budget. The Southern Illinoisan had a story today about how some regional Meal… Updated: 3:58 pm

1 hour ago Photos


Ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich asks full court to hear appeal

Ex-Illinois Gov. Blagojevich asks full court to hear appeal

CHICAGO — Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich asked a full federal appellate court in Chicago to rehear his appeal after three judges recentl… Updated: 4:28 pm

2 hours ago Related (0)
Updated: State workers' suit against Duckworth spills into Senate bid

Updated: State workers' suit against Duckworth spills into Senate bid

JONESBORO — A civil lawsuit alleging ethics violations nearly a decade ago has become an issue in a Democratic congresswoman's bid to unseat f… Updated: 12:44 pm

4 hours ago Related (0)
The Princeton Review's top 20 party schools

The Princeton Review's top 20 party schools

The University of Illinois has earned the top spot on The Princeton Review's annual list of top party schools in the U.S. The University of Io… Updated: 2:12 pm

5 hours ago Photos


Warrant issued for alleged sexual offender after court date no-show

Warrant issued for alleged sexual offender after court date no-show

A warrant for the arrest of a 79-year-old Johnston City man was issued after he failed to appear Monday in Williamson County court for a preli… Updated: 11:49 am

5 hours ago Related (0)
Construction on 10-acre soccer complex under way in Murphysboro

Construction on 10-acre soccer complex under way in Murphysboro

MURPHYSBORO — Work is continuing on the soccer field being developed on 20th Street, on the site of a former nutritional supplement manufacturer.

10 hours ago Related (0)
Activate subscription button gif
Follow the Southern Illinoisan