Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and other Illinois elected leaders, including a few Republicans, are gathering in Chicago today to voice their support for legislation that would allow as many as a quarter million undocumented immigrants in the state to obtain driver's licenses.
At a news conference organized by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, the state officials, including GOP State Comptroller Judy Baar Tompinka and former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar, planned to sign on to the so-called immigrant rights driving initiative, the Chicago Sun-Times
The state legislature is scheduled to take up a bill in January that would allow immigrants to obtain a three-year temporary license, which could help facilitate their efforts to find work and attend colleges. But more importantly, advocates of the legislation say that requiring undocumented immigrants to get licenses could help lower insurance costs and deaths due to crashes.
A similar bill proposing a five-year license was passed by the state House in 2007, but never got through the state Senate.
State officials told the Sun-Times 42 percent of all fatal crashes in the state involve unlicensed drivers and that 250,000 undocumented immigrants in Illinois contribute toward $660 million in insurance claim costs.
If the bill passes, Illinois would join New Mexico and Washington state in requiring
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