Illinois Is Biggest State to Issue License to Undocumented Immigrants, California Up Next
On January 27, 2013, the governor of Illinois signed Senate Bill 957 into law allowing non-visa status individuals to obtain a temporary visitor driver’s license. In November Illinois’ Secretary of State’s Office began accepting appointments for the Temporary Visitors Driver’s License (TVDL) for Undocumented (Non-Visa Status) Individuals. Finally in the first days December the initial wave of non-visa status applicants began the process of obtaining a TVDL. It is estimated that more than 20,000 undocumented immigrants will seek to take advantage of this new law.
Those in favor of the state’s approach to integrate the undocumented into the community view the move as a necessary measure to enhance public safety while encouraging immigrants to receive proper certification before driving. Moreover, it will require undocumented immigrants to demonstrate financial responsibility through the purchase of auto insurance. Illinois’ DMV has indicated that the identifications will be specially marked to indicate they can be used only in limited circumstances as identification, but they will look identical to licenses used by legal immigrants.
Illinois is the largest state so far to offer licenses but that will change soon as California passed a law in October allowing officials to issue issue drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants. This movement has spread to other states is in part due to rising expectations that Congress will pass some for of immigration reform. Other states that have joined the movement include Nevada, Washington, and New Mexico. But what about those states with a significant undocumented immigrant population? Will those states follow in the same footsteps by taking a proactive approach or will they idle by waiting for an immigration reform? It’s your call Texas, New York, Florida.