Illinois Lawmakers Introduce Bill Which Would Allow Undocumented Immigrants to Obtain Driver’s LicensesNovember 21st, 2012 Posted in Immigration News
Chicago, IL- Illinois may very well join other states by allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain a driver’s license in the state, after a group of legislators announced they would introduce a bill November 27th when they return to the Statehouse, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Although the lawmakers have not outlined the details of their proposed legislation, they believe that passing it will address traffic safety concerns, by giving immigrants the opportunity to purchase car insurance and take driver’s tests to evaluate their driving skills.
The Tribune reported that a coalition of Democratic and Republican lawmakers oppose the bill because they say providing driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants is akin to rewarding someone for acting unlawfully.
After the stunning support of Latino voters in this year’s election, the bill is poised to get more support from both sides of the aisle.
Republican Governor Jim Edgar said in a press conference, “Now, just from a good government (view), from what’s morally right, this is the right thing to do. We’ve got a lot of families that can’t do what families need to do—get to work, get to church, take their kids to ballgames, because of, I think, our failure to deal with the immigration issue.
If the measure passes, Illinois will become the most populous state to offer licenses to undocumented immigrants. Currently, only Washington State and Utah allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses. In January, California immigrants will be granted driving permits.
Being an undocumented immigrant is difficult as they are often denied the benefits that legal residents enjoy. Getting a visa or green card is possible, but it’s not an easy task and often requires the skills of an immigration attorney, who is familiar with the naturalization process.
Boston, MA- Offering in-state tuition to undocumented students is becoming a growing trend and now Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has ordered public colleges and universities lower tuition rates for immigrant students.
In a letter to the state’s Department of Education, Patrick directed public colleges to offer in-state tuition to immigrants that qualify for deferred deportation under the recently enacted federal program. This can mean up to $13,000 in annual savings for many students.
In a letter, Patrick said, “While this federal enforcement policy applies to only small segment of our immigrant population and is no substitute for comprehensive immigration reform it is certainly a step in the right direction,” The Boston Globe reported.
“As I see it, this is a matter of basic fairness and economic competiveness,” Patrick said, “Indeed, our Commonwealth, is stronger when they embrace the talent, ideas and work ethic of all immigrants.”
Although President Obama’s policy did not cover college tuition, states like Maryland and now Massachusetts has extended this benefit for immigrants that obtain work permits, which gives them legal residency. Offering in-state tuition was included in the original DREAM Act, which is poised to go up for another vote in Congress as part of a comprehensive immigration reform package.
Immigration laws can be complex and confusing. There are many different ways to get legal residency through work and student visas, green cards and asylum. When you need help navigating the system, an immigration attorney is a valuable asset to have, they can outline the pathways to citizenship, help you fill out the necessary paperwork and offer a deportation defense if needed.
Washington, D.C.-On Friday, the Department of Homeland Security released a report, which showed that in the three months since the administration launched the deferred deportation program, 309,000 young immigrants have applied, and 53,273 have received deferrals.
Application approvals increased by 4,591 over the last month, indicating that more young immigrants are willing to come forward and work towards obtaining a visa or other legal residency. The Homeland Security report also showed that at least 10,000 applications were rejected because they were incomplete.
Homeland Security’s report however did not say how many applications were denied. Reasons for denying an application include having a criminal record, which can include DUIs, drug charges and more serious or violent crimes.
Now that President Obama has won re-election, the DHS anticipates that the number of applications will increase significantly, and believe that the speed at which they have processed the applications shows that government agencies can be efficient.
However, Republicans in Congress are concerned that the applications are being processed before the agency can do a thorough background check.
In order to qualify for the program, the applicant must be between the ages of 15 and 30 and were brought to the states illegally by their parents. The request for deferral must be accompanied by documents that show proof of how long a person has been living in the U.S. These applications must be filled out correctly and completely, so many applicants may find it is easier to have an immigration attorney file the necessary paperwork for them.
The deferrals don’t actually give the applicant legal status, as detractors have previously claimed, but it does grant visas and residency. Once an immigrant meets their residency requirements they can then begin the process of naturalization.