Illinois measure makes noncitizens’ driver’s licenses same as citizens’

(The Center Square) – A bill queued for Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s desk would modify Illinois’ driver’s licenses for noncitizen migrants to be similar to all other standard state IDs.  

On the governor’s desk are more than 420 bills. Dozens remain in queue to be sent. One that awaits to be sent has the support of Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. Wednesday, Giannoulias said the update to the Temporary Visitor Driver’s License found in House Bill 3882 will be life altering for undocumented migrants getting a state ID.

“The phrase ‘Federal Limits Apply’ will be printed along the top of the standard driver’s license or ID per the [federal] REAL ID Act, but the wording ‘Not Valid for Identification,’ which is deep and personal and powerful and dangerous, will be removed,” Giannoulias said during a news conference.

The REAL ID standard from the federal government has been delayed time and again for years. The nation’s REAL ID standards would be required to board a plane or enter federal government locations like military bases. REAL ID guidelines are now set to go into effect in 2025, but would be unavailable to noncitizens.

Since Illinois’ visitor license was enacted 10 years ago, more than 300,000 individuals currently have one. These types of licenses would replace the current TVDLs that Giannoulias’ office said undocumented immigrants have been able to obtain to drive legally in Illinois.

Eligibility for the TVDL requires more than a year of residency and no Social Security number, any U.S. immigration documentation and a passport or a consular card. Such requirements would remain if House Bill 3882 is signed.

Giannoulias said applicants will still have to pass all the driving tests, but if signed, the license noncitizens receive would be the same as one issued to any other Illinoisan who has a standard ID.

State Sen. Ram Vilivallam, D-Chicago, said the change is necessary for undocumented residents in Illinois.

“No more stigmas. You will be able to access prescriptions and show your ID at a restaurant or a store and you don’t have to have that thought of going back to your home country should there be dangerous conditions,” Villivalam said.

State Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet, voted against the measure when it passed during spring legislative session. He said the policy continues to incentivize more illegal immigration.

“There’s no doubt that you’re going to get more of what you encourage, right,” Rose told The Center Square. “When you throw up a sign that says ‘sanctuary city’ or ‘sanctuary state,’ what do you think is going to happen?”

Rose said he can’t engage in, quote, “a game of pretend.”

“Immigration is by the United States Constitution solely within the purview of the U.S. federal government,” he said. “Illinois, like many left-leaning states, is bending over backwards to pretend that the federal law does not exist.”

Rose said more efforts need to be put in by elected officials to get federal officials to fix what he said was a broken immigration system.

Giannoulias’ office said if Pritzker signs HB3882 into law, Illinois will join numerous states with similar processes, including California, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Colorado.

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