Illinois Prepares to Issue Driver's Licenses to Illegal Immigrants

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Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White announced on Tuesday how and when the state will begin issuing drivers licenses to people who entered the country illegally, giving illegal immigrants a pathway to legally driving on Illinois' roads.

Illinois will begin accepting applications for these Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses, or TVDLs, in December.

They will be purple instead of red like the state's standard driver's licenses.

And, the TVDLs are only good for driving. They will not be considered valid ID for things like boarding planes, voting, and buying firearms.

State officials say what they are is a way to make Illinois' roads safer for everyone.

"These folks would have been forced and have been forced to drive illegally because of the necessities of life without having a vision test, without having a driving test, without having proof of insurance," said John Cullerton, (D) Illinois Senate President.

Undocumented immigrants would have to have all of those to get a TVDL.

They'd also have to have a valid passport from their native country or a consular identification card from an approved country, and prove that they've lived in Illinois for at least a year.

"Today we are glad and honored to make this document available for those who have come to this great state," White said.

But, not every Illinois resident sees it that way:

"If you're not a citizen of the United States I don't believe you ought to be getting a driver's license," Larry Weimer, an East Moline resident, told us.

That was something we heard from more than a few people outside the driver services facility in Silvis on Tuesday.

"I think it's kind of unfair to the people who work hard and get their visa," said Alexandra Johnson, who lives in Dixon, Illinois.

Still, other people we talked to were happy to hear the state's announcement:

"I don't see why they cannot have a license like anybody else. They earn it, they take tests, they pass it, so I don't see a problem at all," said one Moline resident, Brian White.

"It's a right for everybody to drive and do whatever they need to do," said Damell Mangrum, a Rock Island resident.

"It is the land of opportunity," he added.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White agrees:

"We are on the right side of this issue," he said.

And, his office will move ahead with plans to issue TVDLs, and allow people to start setting appointments to apply for them beginning November 12th.

the state will only be accepting applications for TVDLs at 25 designated sites in the state, including the driver services facility in Silvis.

The program will start at four facilities in Chicago, Springfield, and Bloomington in December, and be phased in at the rest of the facilities throughout the month of January.

Click here for more information from the Secretary of State's office.


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