November 28, 2012- Illinois Peoples Action – IPA took over 70 leaders to Springfield on Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 to lobby for drivers licenses for aspiring citizen in the state of Illinois. IPA is part of a statewide coalition called the “Highway Safety Coalition” that is trying to get legislation passed that would grant drivers licenses to an estimated 250,000 drivers who don’t currently qualify to get a legal drivers license. If passed, Illinois would become the largest state in the nation to pass this sort of legislation.
The Temporary Visitor Driver’s License (TVDL) is an existing document that is now available to many foreign‐born individuals living in Illinois. Since 2005, Illinois has issued TVDLs to individuals who do not have SSNs but who have a lawful immigration status. Such individuals include foreign students, spouses and children of temporary workers, long‐term visitors, and others who are not authorized to work under our immigration laws. Many of these individuals still need to drive on a regular basis to get to classes, shop, take their children to school, or attend to other family and personal business.
TVDLs are visually distinct from regular licenses: TVDLs currently use a purple color scheme, as opposed to the red scheme used for regular licenses. TVDLs are also clearly marked as “not valid for identification.” Because of these elements, TVDLs already comply with the federal REAL ID Act, which is set to take effect in January 2013.
Making TVDLs available to undocumented motorists would still require these immigrants to pass all applicable tests (vision, written, and road) and require them to purchase insurance for their vehicles. TVDLs would not brand people as undocumented, since unlike a driver’s certificate, the document is available more broadly to other individuals who cannot get regular licenses. The risk of profiling associated with certificates should not exist with TVDLs.
Any proposal to extend TVDLs to undocumented motorists could require additional steps to ensure security and prevent fraud, including:
submitting an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) issued by the Internal Revenue Service;
submitting a valid and verifiable passport or consular identification card
providing additional proof of Illinois residence to deter individual
IPA leaders met with Dan Brady (R), Bill Brady (R), Keith Sommer (R), Jehan Godon (D) , Raymond Poe (R), David Leitch (R), Dave Koehler (D), and Naomi Jackobsson (D) in an effort to get support for the passage of this legislation. All of them agreed to vote yes or were leaning yes on the proposed bill.
IPA plans on following up with all of these elected officials as the day for the vote draws nearer.