Today, Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) praised his home state of Illinois for passing SB957, a bill that will allow the State of Illinois to issue Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses to immigrants, even if they are undocumented immigrants in the United States. The Illinois Highway Safety and Mandatory Insurance for All Bill passed the State House of Representatives and is expected to be signed by Gov. Patrick Quinn.
The following is a statement by Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Chair of the Immigration Task Force of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
The conversation on immigration has shifted and once again, Illinois is in the forefront. All the talk of mass deportation, "self-deportation" or driving out tens of millions of undocumented immigrants and their families has died down. It was resoundingly rejected on Election Day in November. Now we are starting to address the reality that immigrants work here, live here, raise families here, and yes, drive here, and that we should have practical policies that reflect that reality.
The Illinois bill will improve insurance coverage and road safety and protect thousands of Illinois families, including Illinois families who will not have to worry that a minor traffic stop could lead to their family's disintegration through deportation.
Congratulations to the State of Illinois and to the advocates and public safety experts who have been fighting for this legislation for more than a decade. It is a sensible response to reality and another sign that the immigration policy debate is moving forward. I am looking forward to carrying the same spirit of problem-solving and concrete accomplishment that was demonstrated in Springfield to the immigration debate in Washington.