Illegal Immigrants Eligible for Driver's Licenses

By: Landon Cassman Email
By: Landon Cassman Email

Illinois is the fourth state to allow illegal immigrants to obtain a driver's license with a new law signed by the governor. Some Stateline residents are already plan to apply for one.

"No matter what, we need to drive," said Juan Lomeli. "In order for us to get to our jobs, to buy groceries, to take our kids to school."

Lomeli said he's been driving without a license for the past six years because he wasn't legally allowed to get one. That's until today.

Lomeli is one of nearly a quarter of a million undocumented immigrants in Illinois who will now be eligible for a temporary driver's license. Advocates of the law say this will make the streets of Illinois much safer.

"With them going through the classes, and obtaining the license like everybody else, it'll probably make it a lot safer for other drivers," said Insurance King owner Dan Block. "Now we're going to know if they have driving record problems, like speeding tickets or accidents, DUIs, because now they're going to follow through the whole documentation system."

Though licenses won't be issued until October, League of United Latin American Citizens executive director Mary Lou Castro said most illegal immigrants already know how to drive.

"There will be rules and regs. They'll have to provide a background check, which is very important. And that history will be the first start for the safety for the streets of Illinois."

Streets Juan Lomeli is excited to drive on legally for the first time.

The Safer Families Coalition has protested against this law in the past, saying since these immigrants are here illegally, they shouldn't be eligible for licenses.

Illinois is now the fourth state to allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses.


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