The Illinois secretary of state's office says it's making progress on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants. The office has been issuing licenses to illegal immigrants for 16 months but to keep driver services offices from being overwhelmed, they required applicants to make appointments, which at first were hard to get. The process created its own set of problems, says deputy Secretary of State Thomas Benigno.
Since the scheduling is two to three months in advance, some people forget when they booked to come in. We have like a 17 percent no-show-up rate. So what we do now, we have a group of people that call like a week before they're scheduled to remind them to come in, he said.
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The office has also worked with community organizations to make sure applicants bring in the proper documents, reducing the percentage of those whose application cannot be processed due to insufficient documentation for 6 or 7 percent to 1 percent.
The applicants who do come in succeed at getting their licenses at the same rate as the general population. 106,000 licenses have been issued, with 53,000 more applicants scheduled for appointments.
The application process requires individuals to make an appointment at one of 36 secretary of state driver services offices, provide documentation that includes proof of identity and Illinois residency for the last year and pay a $30 fee. Applicants age 18 to 20 must also take a driver education course. The license is valid only if the driver has insurance in effect; the secretary of state's office says the program has brought more drivers into compliance with the state's insurance requirements.