[UPDATE 12.3.12] Click here to read more about the proposed drivers license legislation, and how you can support it.
For months leading up to the election, JCUA ran a civic engagement campaign in partnership with Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) with the goal of getting out the immigrant vote. We wanted voters to know that whoever won the local and national races were going to be making important decisions about immigration policy in the upcoming months and years.
As we saw on Nov. 6, the Latino vote played a major role in deciding this election. However, before the new leadership even takes office, there is critical legislation going before the Illinois General Assembly during the veto session. The legislation would make driver’s licenses available to undocumented immigrants in the state. This bill would promote road safety because, in order to receive a driver’s license, undocumented drivers would be required to pass a driving test and obtain insurance. Currently, if an undocumented immigrant is stopped while driving, they often end up facing the threat of deportation and separation from their families.
As Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran states in this Chicago Sun-Times op-ed, “They would love to not violate the law, but they need to feed their families, and they have to get to work.” No one should have to risk deportation for driving to work.
As we continue to push for and work toward Comprehensive Immigration Reform on a federal level, this state bill is a step in the right and just direction.