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Illegal Immigrant Drivers License Program Kicking Off
Illegal immigrants, driving legally on the road. Next month, non-visa status people in Illinois can begin the process of obtaining a temporary driver's license. Despite the controversial law being on the books since January, many questions remain.
"Public safety." "But they're here illegally." Those are the main arguments for and against a law that allows illegal immigrants to obtain a temporary drivers license for three years.
"This means freedom," Claudia Fabian, who came to the U.S. from Argentina, said. "It means being not scared anymore of maybe you are not going to be stopped that day and put in jail or perhaps deported."
Fabian became a U.S. citizen in 1994. She calls this law "amazing."
"It's a feeling of 'I'm a part of this,'" she said. "I'm a part of this community. I'm accepted."
Supporters also say the law will encourage illegal immigrants to take a driver's test and get insurance. But questions remain.
"The state of Illinois already requires, and they have for like 20 years, people have to have insurance," Sangamon County Sheriff Neil Williamson said. "But, we know people don't have insurance on their cars, so the law doesn't work anyway. So why do we think it will work for undocumented people? It just won't."
The Illinois Secretary of State's Office says they will not give information to federal immigration authorities without a request from the government.
But what if law enforcement pulls over an illegal immigrant for a traffic violation? Williamson said a ticket would be issued for the violation.
Twenty-five designated facilities will be set up throughout the state to issue driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. One of those facilities is located in Springfield. State officials estimate 250,000 illegal immigrants who live in Illinois could apply for a license.
Documentation required includes an unexpired foreign passport, certified school transcripts, medical claim, bank statement, or others.
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