New Illinois Laws

Undocumented Illinois residents can now get standard driver's licenses

The licenses replace temporary cards that were issued to undocumented immigrants since 2013

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Under provisions of a new law, undocumented residents in Illinois are now eligible to receive four-year driver’s licenses.

According to HB 3882, which went into effect July 1, those residents can now receive standard licenses and identification cards instead of the previously issued Temporary Visitor’s Driver’s License.

"This legislation is a significant step in eliminating the barriers to opportunity that many undocumented immigrants face," Pritzker said in a news release in June, when he signed the measure into law. "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."

Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias called the TVDL, which had a purple line and the letters “TVDL” on it, a “Scarlet Letter” of an individual’s immigration status, and argued that it exposed them to discrimination or immigration enforcement.

 "This legislation allows immigrants to obtain standard driver licenses that will serve as authentic identification in Illinois," he said in a news release. "It will help prevent the stigma, instances of discrimination, and problems that TVDLs have been known to cause while making roads safer and enabling immigrants to use a standard license as identification for basic necessities like filling prescriptions or renting an apartment."

According to Illinois officials, applicants for the licenses must still pass a driving test and have valid car insurance. They must also present identification documents, and be able to prove residency within the state for at least one year.

State officials say more than 300,000 residents had TVDL’s, which were first issued in 2013.

The new cards will have the words “Federal Limits Apply” printed on them. They will also not allow undocumented immigrants to register to vote.

The bill prohibits Illinois from sharing driver information with immigration enforcement. Agents must provide a court-issued warrant or order to request that information under terms of the legislation.

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