Chicago Aldermen sign resolution to push for undocumented immigrants to receive driver's licenses

Alicia drives to the suburbs for her job.

The Logan Square resident can’t afford to miss work because she has a son to support. But unlike many Illinois’ drivers the 36-year-old mother is scared driving.

“I’m terrified of driving to work. I’m afraid of going to work and never coming back,” said Alicia, who is undocumented. “If the police pulls me over the first thing they ask for is insurance and driver’s license. I don’t have a driver’s license and I know people get deported for driving without a license.”

She said she was happy to hear and local politicians have signed a resolution urging the Illinois General Assembly to allow people like her, and an estimated 250,000 undocumented immigrants, to obtain a valid driver’s license.

On Thursday morning, 28 Chicago aldermen signed the resolution, including influential politicians like Ed Burke and Richard Mell, who represent Latino wards, The Chicago Sun-times reported.

Thursday’s efforts are part of part of a bigger campaign that has been defeated several times since 2001, according to Fred Tsao, policy director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

Illinois wouldn’t be the first state to allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s license. Other states including California, Washington and New Mexico have done this.

Traffic violations have triggered 8,006 deportations in the Chicago Enforcement Region since 2007, according to data from the U.S. Department of Immigration Enforcement obtained by The Chicago Reporter.

Alicia says having a driver’s license would make it easier for her to go to work and take her son to school.

“If I had a driver’s license I would be able to go out freely,” she said.

 

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