Illinois Democrats moving toward driver's licenses for illegal immigrants

Currently, giving illegal immigrants licenses is prevented by state law. 

If the bill goes through, illegal immigrants would not be provided full licenses, but Temporary Visitors Driver's Licenses, which are provided to those who are in the United States legally but lack a Social Security number, such as foreign students. 

Democrats, including Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, are presenting the idea as a matter of safety. 

“This is a safety issue that impacts every driver in Illinois, and we should join together to take swift action to save lives,” said at a news conference Tuesday.

“Making sure all motorists, regardless of their background, are licensed and insured will drive economic growth and ease the financial burden on all Illinois motorists.”

According to the Illinois Highway Safety Coalition, unlicensed, uninsured drivers are involved in about 80,000 accidents annually, costing $660 million in damage. 

There are estimated to be 250,000 unlicensed immigrants on Illinois roadways, and they account for $64 million just in claims. 

Similar legislation has been floated twice before, but some Republicans in the Prairie State remain skeptical, arguing that providing illegal immigrants licenses would be tantamount to rewarding lawbreaking behavior.