Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill into law on Friday that will allow illegal immigrants to acquire standard driver’s licenses.
House Bill 3882, which will go into effect on July 1, 2024, will allow illegal immigrants to use driver’s licenses as official identification documents but do not qualify for Real ID travel purposes.
“This legislation is a significant step in eliminating the barriers to opportunity that many undocumented immigrants face,” said Pritzker. “We’re ensuring every eligible individual can obtain a driver’s license, making our roads safer, decreasing stigma, and creating more equitable systems for all.”
“Providing access to a standard Illinois Driver’s License for our undocumented immigrants is about breaking down barriers that lead to discrimination,” said Democratic Lt. Governor Julia Stratton.
Currently, illegal immigrants in the state can obtain a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License, which bears the acronym “TVDL” at the top.
“TVDLs have become the ‘Scarlet Letter’ of an individual’s immigration status and sadly exposes them to discrimination or immigration enforcement,” said Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. “This legislation allows immigrants to obtain standard driver licenses that will serve as authentic identification in Illinois.” He added that the policy would “help prevent the stigma, instances of discrimination, and problems that TVDLs have been known to cause.”
There are 425,000 illegal immigrants living in Illinois, according to some estimates.
Meanwhile, state lawmakers recently passed HB 3751, legislation that would allow DACA recipients who are eligible to work to become law enforcement officers. The bill, which Gov. Pritzker has not yet signed, would violate federal law, which states that only American citizens can become law enforcement officers. The legislature seemingly justified this conflict by predicting that DACA recipients would eventually become citizens.
Chicago has struggled to accommodate foreign nationals and asylum seekers who have unlawfully crossed the border. The city recently passed a controversial measure to provide $51 million in funding to provide housing for the roughly 10,000 foreign nationals who have arrived in the Windy City over the past year.