Gov. Pat Quinn
Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill giving illegal immigrants the right to drive legally Sunday, but concerns mount about whether Illinois is avoiding the problems that three smaller states incurred with similar legislation.
Fraud is one of the biggest issues being raised by critics, as problems in three other states with similar laws take hold. Washington, Utah, and New Mexico began to see hundreds of fraudulent applications for licenses after legislation in those states took hold. Illinois will not require applicants to be fingerprinted, but instead use facial recognition to deter fraud.
Governor Pat Quinn signed the legislation in Chicago Sunday alongside Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and some of Illinois top Republicans. Those involved in the signing said the bill was an important step for illegals in the state, while politicians in Washington look to work together on a broader immigration bill.
"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."
Supporters of the bill say it will allow a quarter million people to drive that are illegal immigrants to the state, while requiring insurance and providing education.
The major caveat for illegal immigrants is that while the October availability of the licenses provides documentation to drive legally, it does not qualify as identification.
Proponents argue the law will make streets safer, providing education and training to new drivers who otherwise may simply opt to drive illegally.