Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law a measure that will allow driver’s licenses to be issued to some 250,000 undomumented immigrants.
“This was a bipartisan effort to pass an important law,” Quinn said. “When the president speaks on Tuesday, he can say about his home state of Illinois ... we not only passed the Dream Act last year, we passed driver’s licenses for those who are undocumented.”
The Illinois Dream Act establishes privately funded college scholarships for undocumented students.
Also present at the ceremony of signing the bill into law were Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, Congressman Luis Gutierrez and the Democratic and Republican leaders of the state legislature.
The bill, which is the culmination of almost 15 years of negotiations, was approved by the state Senate in December and by the House of Representatives earlier this month.
Until now, Washington and New Jersey were the nation’s only states that issued driver’s licenses to the undocumented.
Undocumented immigrants will receive a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License, which the state has issued since 2005 to foreigners living legally in Illinois but who lack a Social Security number.
The license will cost $30 and be valid for three years. It may be requested by immigrants who have lived in Illinois for at least a year and who identify themselves with their passport or consular identity card.
In addition, applicants will have to pass vision tests and a traffic rules exam, as well as a driving exam and they must have insurance on the vehicles they drive.