Politics is a great generator of euphemisms. You’re not in favor of abortion, you’re “pro choice.” People with no place to live aren’t bums, they’re “homeless.” If you sneak across the border without checking in with the Department of Homeland Security, you’re an “undocumented immigrant.”
And now, even euphemisms have euphemism. A group called P.A.S.O. -- Proyecto de Accion de los Suburbios del Oeste -- released a press release hailing the state senate for passing a bill to issue driver’s licenses to “Temporary Visitors.”
True to P.A.S.O.’s core mission, in the past months leaders and staff have been working hard to insure the passage of the Temporary Visitor’s Driver Licenses bill which would create a process for undocumented immigrants to apply for Temporary Visitors Drivers Licenses, be able to drive without fear of deportation and purchase auto insurance. In the last 2 weeks, P.A.S.O. organized two lobby visits to Springfield where over 60 community members traveled to Springfield to educate legislators on the importance of this bill and insure its passage.
P.A.S.O. formed part of Highway Safety Coalition and is proud of the work led by leaders and staff to insure the passage of this important legislation for the state of Illinois and our undocumented brothers and sisters.
However, instead of calling them undocumented “Temporary Visitors” is inaccurate on two counts. They’re not visitors, because they live and work here. And Illinois already has a provision to grant “Temporary Visitors” licenses to foreigners who actually are here temporarily, and meet these criteria:
Be authorized by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be present in this country, and provide documentation verifying such authorization;
Not be required to obtain a driver's license issued by the U.S. Department of State, Office of Foreign Missions;
Be ineligible for a Social Security number, and present documentation, dated within 90 days of the date the individual is applying for a TVDL, issued by the Social Security Administration verifying such ineligibility;
Be authorized to be in the country for at least one year and have at least six months remaining on an authorized stay;
Provide acceptable documentation that proves name, date of birth, Illinois residency and verification of written signature.
The current bill would expand to definition of temporary visitors to include undocumented immigrants. If we want to give driver’s licenses to people who entered the United States illegally, fine. But let’s be honest about who they are, and why they’re here.