News Local/State

Illinois Set To Issue Licenses To Undocumented Immigrants


Illinois will soon begin issuing drivers licenses to so-called "undocumented immigrants." Backers of the plan hope it'll improve road safety.

The law passed with a lot of fanfare -- and bipartisan support -- earlier this year.

Illinois already has what are called "temporary visitors drivers licenses" -- or TVDLs -- for foreign students and guest workers -- now that's being opened up to people who cannot prove they have a legal right to be in the U.S.

Supporters of the change say there are 250,000 undocumented drivers in Illinois. They say by making them take a test and get a license, the roads will be safer for everyone.

On top of that, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White said it guarantees more Illinois drivers will buy car insurance.

"In fact the (TVDL) is not valid without the automobile insurance," he said. "The two are companions."

Getting a license will require an advance appointment. The program begins at four drivers services facilities in December -- in two in Chicago, one in Springfield, and one in Bloomington. It'll continue rolling out in January, eventually at 25 facilities across the state.