In 2013, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed a new measure into law that permits undocumented immigrants permission to apply for driver’s licenses. Illinois is the fourth and largest state to permit this, and while there are some concerns regarding identity fraud and related issues, Gov. Quinn and various others believe it is a necessary public safety measure. Facial recognition technology is a required step of the application process, which is what, they believe, will prevent any chance of identity fraud.
These new licenses are similar to those already issued to certain foreign-born, legal visitors in the state. All applicants must prove they have resided in Illinois for at least 12 months and must provide a valid passport or consular ID from their native country, as well as providing proof of their name, date of birth, and address. Applicants will be photographed, and their pictures will be entered into a state facial recognition database in order to verify their identity.
Currently, those undocumented immigrants wishing to apply for licenses may only do so at specific Secretary of State Offices.
These driver’s licenses are only temporary and will expire in three years. They will not be permitted to be used as identification for those uses such as voting or buying a gun.
Those in favor of the new law believe it will ultimately make Illinois roads safer for everyone because applicants are required to have insurance in order to be granted a license. Applicants must also pass a vision, written, and road driver’s test before receiving their license.
This is a huge step in immigrant rights movements in Illinois. If you or someone you know is currently an undocumented immigrant in Illinois has been denied the right to a driver’s license for reasons you believe unjust, do not be afraid to contact an experienced Illinois immigration attorney to assist you in fighting for your rights.
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