Top Illinois state officials said Tuesday they’ll push to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants – a move backed also by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who for years stood as Democrats’ key impediment to pushing immigration in Congress.
State Senate President John Cullerton said he’ll try to pass a bill in the legislature’s veto session next week to remove restrictions on illegal immigrants getting licenses there, and Gov. Pat Quinn said he’ll sign it, if it reaches his desk. Both men are Democrats.
The move represents pushback after a decade in which states went the other direction, putting tighter restrictions on driver’s licenses after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The commission that investigated those attacks recommended stricter driver’s license requirements.
Illinois would become the third state to allow illegal immigrants to get licenses, joining Washington and New Mexico.
“I strongly support state legislation that will allow every Chicagoan, regardless of legal status, to enjoy the rights and responsibilities that come with a driver’s license,” Mr. Emanuel, President Obama’s first White House chief of staff, said in a statement.