The Illinois Senate has approved legislation that would allow illegal immigrants to drive with special three-year licenses, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The bill, which passed on a bipartisan vote and will be considered in the state House next month, would allow about 250,000 undocumented immigrants to get licenses that expire at the end of three years.
Democratic Senate President John Cullerton said the special permits are important to efforts aimed at addressing highway safety issues, even though the federal government hasn’t decided definitively yet how to deal with undocumented immigrants.
Cullerton said the bill would require immigrant applicants to be trained and tested on Illinois driving rules, a requirement to help curb the problem of accidents caused by people driving without licenses.
Some Republicans, however, continued to voice their opposition, arguing during the Senate debate that people in the country illegally shouldn’t be allowed any kind of driving privileges.
The special license can’t be used for identification, such as for boarding planes, buying guns, or voting. To obtain a license, an applicant must have lived in Illinois for at least a year and be able to provide proof of residency through a lease, utility bill, or other means.
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