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The Illinois House sent Gov. Pat Quinn a bill (SB 957) that would give illegal aliens access to driver’ licenses. Quinn said he would sign the measure, which cleared the House by a vote of 65-46 after passing the Senate in December. An estimated 250,000 illegal aliens would get licenses under the bill.

The bill would allow illegal aliens to apply for a visitor’s driver’s license that lasts for three years. The licenses could not be used for identification purposes, such as for boarding a plane or voting. To get one, an illegal alien must demonstrate one year of Illinois residency and present a valid, unexpired passport or consular identification card. The license would be considered invalid if the holder is stopped by police and cannot provide proof of liability insurance. However, an illegal alien would not have to demonstrate proof of insurance when applying for a license.

Pro-illegal alien groups had re-cast the bill as a “safety” measure and suggested it would ensure more drivers are trained and insured. Opponents said it would lead to fraud and make it easier for illegal aliens to compete for jobs with citizens. New Mexico has uncovered a significant amount of fraud related to its law giving licenses to illegal aliens. The state has arrested scores of illegal aliens from other states, including three Polish nationals who resided in Illinois.

After passage, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the measure should advance the argument for comprehensive federal immigration reform. It also may be used by pro-illegal alien groups to push similar bills in other states. "We have been clear in setting a national pattern," said Emanuel. "This will be noticed around the country.”

The Chicago Tribune reported on one illegal alien who was eager to apply for a driver's license. She had been arrested for driving without one after getting into an accident with a police squad car. The accident only resulted in a fine but convinced her not to drive again until it was legal. "I've lost a lot of jobs because I can't drive," she said. Before the accident, she had driven for 23 years without being arrested, including a few years in Washington State where she could drive legally.

If Quinn signs SB 957 as expected, Illinois would join New Mexico and Washington State in giving illegal aliens access to driver's licenses. Utah law offers illegal aliens driving privilege cards. California enacted a law last year that extends licenses to recipients of the Obama Administration’s executive amnesty.

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Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 11:37am EDT