Illinois Issues Driver’s Licenses to Illegal Aliens

On January 8, the Illinois House approved  bill (SB 957) that would allow as many as 250,000 illegal aliens to receive an Illinois driver’s license. (ABC News, Jan. 8, 2013). In testimony before the House on January 7, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police urged the House to vote against SB 957 because it lacks “basic public safety and homeland security safeguards,” thus jeopardizing the safety of all Illinois citizens. (PR Newswire, Jan. 10, 2013). Despite these warnings, the bill easily passed the House with bipartisan support by a vote of 65-46. It had previously passed the Senate on December 4, 2012 by a vote of 41-14. (Huffington Post, Jan. 8, 2013).

SB 957 expands the Illinois temporary visitor driver’s license currently used by legal aliens to cover illegal aliens. In order to obtain a so-called “temporary” driver’s license under the bill, an alien need only have lived in Illinois for a year and may establish his or her identity using a consular ID or foreign passport. (See FAIR Legislative Update, Dec. 3, 2012).

Now that SB 957 has passed the General Assembly, the bill must be sent to the Governor within 30 days. From that date, Governor Quinn (D) will have 60 days to sign or veto the bill. In a statement issued following the passage of SB 957, the Governor declared his intention to sign the bill. (Governor Quinn Press Release, Jan. 8, 2013). Governor Quinn rationalized that the bill is good for Illinois because Illinois residents will save money on insurance premiums as illegal aliens will now have to maintain liability insurance as other licensed drivers. (Id.).

Opponents argue, however, granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens in no way guarantees that they will purchase insurance. (See FAIR Press Release, Dec. 7, 2012). “There is no evidence to suggest that people who are already inclined to disobey laws they find inconvenient and who, in many cases have few assets to protect, are going to purchase insurance just because they have licenses,” said FAIR President Dan Stein. (Id.). To back up his claim, Stein points to New Mexico who grants driver’s licenses to illegal aliens and is home to the nation’s second highest percentage of uninsured drivers despite having a mandatory liability insurance law. (Id.; see also Insurance Research Council, Apr. 21, 2011).

If Governor Quinn signs the bill, Illinois will be one of four states that provide driving privileges to illegal aliens. New Mexico and Washington State currently provide driver’s licenses to illegal aliens, while Utah provides a driver’s privilege card. Bills have been introduced recently in both California (AB 60) and Connecticut (SB 68) that would extend driving privileges to illegal aliens, while a bill has been introduced in Washington State (SB 5012) that would limit driver’s licenses to only those who can prove their lawful presence in the United States.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar


    Hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions of people are avidly attentive to every word that springs from the lips of President Barack Obama on the immigration debate. They wait patiently throughout Mexico, South America, Europe, The Caribbean Islands, China and from one horizon to the other, for this administration and the GOP minority party to vote on a new immigration policy. It could easily be Déjà-Vu all over again, a simulation of the 1986 Ron Reagan, Simpson-Mazzoli Immigration Reform and Control Act. (IRCA) when the estimated interior 3 million illegal aliens, escalated into somewhere around 6 million? The borders were suddenly inundated with people, and additionally a sudden surge in airline flights with parties of families come into America under false pretenses of just visiting. The outcome was huge amounts of deceptive papers that indicated the people had been living here illegally for years, but could now apply for citizenship. That in itself was one issue, but the promise of the deceased Ted Kennedy and the rest of the bunch that such laws as holding businesses liable for hiring illegal aliens was never fully enforced, or other restrictions. Please—if nothing else, assure the American people that every illegal alien is fully processed; no short cuts and proof positive that they were here before the enactment of a new law. Not the carnival of errors as before, letting millions more to slip past immigration safeguards. Even thirty years ago the laws were ignored as the business community held thrall over the political parties, with donations to campaign contributions, travel and other favors.

    So here we stand today with the potential of another blanket amnesty, and very little hindrance to the people who are going to cross deserts, or the airports as fake tourists. Most reports say that more one way arrivals enter America this way as visa overstays, then those who sweep through either the Northern or Southern border with the intention to squat here? Taxpayers who pay the bills, for illegal aliens can expect illegal entries to rise if Obama collects enough votes to pass another amnesty. My thought it is so unfair to people who enter this country through proper channels; many hundreds of thousands sitting and waiting many years for a visa. The 19th century immigrants came here expecting nothing but hard work, but the illegal immigrant’s today press politicians for civil rights, entitlements and a pass to citizenship. By any other name these are criminals, who are stealing legally money from citizens and legal residents.

    Right now the only chance we have to place legal obstacles in the way of illegal aliens, and insist that most of the Democrats and some Republicans (Not TEA PARTY lawmakers) that federal and state politicians serve the general public by honoring their oaths to protect us from enemies–Domestic and Foreign–by enacting the “LEGAL WORKFORCE BILL., Its purpose is to detect illegal working aliens and replacing them with some of the 24 million Americans remaining jobless or using temporary work, as part of the (LWB) is E-verify that is being updated constantly and soon will have access to Drivers Licenses Agencies to cross-reference and authenticate workers. The most contentious law that must be applied is an amendment to the 14th Amendment, which existed for the end of slavery, to uphold citizenship for future black descendants. However it has been perverted from its original intent, giving citizenship to children smuggled into the United States. A simple, easy and correct amendment would stop this immigration travesty, by only allowing the children of parents, who already has citizenship.

    Involved is hundreds of billions of dollars in taxpayers money swallowed up by foreign nationals, once the baby holds an American birth certificate and hence a passport. It becomes a fulcrum for the illegal Mother to stay here, to accumulate citizenship welfare for the baby, followed by the rest of the family circle. Mexico has closed this loophole and most European countries, while Canada and the United States still have a guarantee for citizenship for the pregnant unconcealed or those smuggled through our porous borders. For anybody who comes to America should be a criminal felony and not a civil slap on the wrist. ONLY THE RAISED VOICES OF THE TEA PARTY AND THE LEGAL POPULATION OF THE U.S. CAN ULTIMATELY GET THESE PARAMOUNT LAWS PASSED AND SAVING THE DESPICABLE COSTS EXTRACTED FROM US EVERY APRIL?

    The agriculture industry obviously needs Guest Workers, but it must be a uniform program that the farmers pay all those benefits, including a fair wage, not stick the unsuspecting public with the bill. That at the end of their contract, the Agjob labor must leave and then apply for a new job. I doubt anybody will disagree that those persons with exemplary professional skills, such as the STEM workers should be expedited through the system, as businesses are forever calling out for these people. Our government should enforce the laws to halt the desperate from other countries, as these people are not our problem, but our own homeless, and destitute are, especially the elderly who seem to be completely neglected.

  2. avatar

    The actions of the state of Illinois are in violation of Title8 of the US code , as such any person who is injured by a illegal in possession of one of these licenses has the right to SUE the state of Illinois to recover damages.
    Let the litigation begin.

  3. avatar

    I was raised in and around Chicago : married and escaped for 24 years, but sadly I am stuck back here. I am so ashamed to admit I’m from this area. The dirty , filthy politiics and the murder capital of the nation. Not exaggerated. It seems that the politicians really do love money more than the sanctity of life. So tired of the same people being re elected and knowing its all a farce. The Madigans and the emanuels and the Daleys and the alvarez’s. Would like to wipe the slate clean (same in DC) and have a fair and free election of Honest people who really care about . And no unions…especially teacher. What a joke.

  4. avatar
    richard harris on

    Republicans everywhere seem to be falling over themselves now to pander to illegal aliens. You would think that they had forgotten one of the earliest lessons they learned or should have learned in grade school. If you try to buy approval of people by giving them gifts you only engender contempt from those people.