Beginning later this year, getting a driver’s license available to unauthorized immigrants will no longer require an appointment.
Since the Temporary Visitor Driver’s License program began accepting applications from the undocumented in 2013, getting one required setting a special appointment at a driver services facility. That will change beginning in July, as facilities will now accept walk-in applicants for the special license.
Secretary of State Jesse White said more the program has granted licenses to more than 175,000 people, who he said would have driving anyway, though without insurance or having passed a driving test.
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“With the requirement that every individual prove to us that they live in Illinois for a one-year period of time and that they purchased their automobile insurance and they can read the signs and know what they mean and then, take the driving test and written tests, our roads are a lot safer as a result of this process,” White said.
One of the sponsors of the original TVDL legislation, State Rep. Eddie Acevedo (D-Chicago), says road safety was the goal of the bill.
“I was being criticized by every other person saying I just wanted to help illegal, undocumented immigrants,” Acevedo said. “I told them that’s not what it was about. It was about helping families get to and from work.”
The Secretary of State’s office said it’s prepared to handle TVDL applicants along with regular visitors to their facilities, saying it has about 100 bilingual employees trained across the state.
Two of the busiest facilities in the state, both located in Chicago, will remain appointment-only for TVDL applicants.