CHICAGO, December 13, 2012 ― A new bill to permit 250,000 illegal immigrants to receive driver’s licenses could be in big trouble in
Opponents say the bill was stripped of key safety and security provisions once it gained political support and outrage has set in. In Springfield, state police chiefs are opposing the bill, SB957, demanding that safeguards be put back in.
Greg Sullivan, Executive Director of the Illinois Sheriffs Association, also says that representatives from the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) initially approached the association and asked for its support.
“In the original drafts we were shown, the bill required applicants to submit fingerprints and tax identification numbers,” says Sullivan. “But these provisions were dropped from the current bill.”
Sullivan says that fingerprints and tax identification numbers are important from a law enforcement perspective.
“It comes down to: how do we prove identity? We don’t want to have a system that issues state driver’s licenses to felons and criminals. Fingerprints help us prevent that,” says Sullivan. “From a public perspective, the undocumented should be paying for the privilege of driving, using our roads, maintaining our signs, and supporting the traffic court system with their taxes too.”
Sullivan says that because of the bill’s lack of safeguards, there are only a few
The association represents 102
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran, who ran as a Democrat in 2006 and a Republican in 2010, has testified in favor of the bill. Just a few years ago, he was a staunch opponent of illegal immigration but has had a ‘conversion’ on the issue.
“I’m worried about the people that have been here for long periods of time. These people that our country lured into
Reports of an investigation into
The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that it is investigating a
To deflect criticism of the bill, the Highway Safety Coalition (HSC), which is run by ICIRR, says the bill will prevent fraud, dry up black market, and promote highway safety.
“Today’s Chicago Sun Times carries a story that highlights the document fraud and dangers to
Opponents also criticize deficiencies in SB957’s insurance provision.
SB957 doesn’t actually require proof of insurance upfront in order to obtain the state-issued license. Under the program, if a driver is caught without insurance during a routine traffic staff, the driver is guilty of a “petty offense.”
Former Republican Governor Jim Edgar has defended the bill, saying that the GOP party platform on illegal immigration doesn’t matter. “This is common sense,” says Edgar.
The fast-tracked bill, which has bipartisan support of top Illinois political leaders, sailed through the state Senate with a 41-14 vote last Tuesday and is now being considered by the Illinois house.
Top Democrat leaders who support the bill include Governor Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and Senate president John Cullerton, the bill’s sponsor. State Republican leaders who support the legislation include Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), Senate GOP Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), House GOP Leader Tom Cross (R-Oswego), and
William J. Kelly is an Emmy award-winning TV producer and conservative columnist. He is also a contributor to the American Spectator and Breitbart.com. He is a native from
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