Pro-immigrant groups hailed as an historic victory for immigrant families the approval Tuesday in the Illinois House of Representatives of a bill to allow the issuance of driver's licenses to some 250,000 undocumented foreigners living in the state.
"Victory for Illinois families on driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants after 13-year fight," the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights said after the measure passed the House by a vote of 65-46.
In the House gallery, hundreds of activists chanted "Yes We Can" and applauded during the voting.
The Senate had approved the bill before the end of last year.
"Illinois has now shown that we have the courage to work in a bipartisan manner to pass sensible legislation to protect public safety, welcome immigrants, and protect our families," the ICIRR said.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn promised to sign the bill immediately so that it will enter into force within 10 months.
Quinn said in a communique that the law will save lives and millions of dollars in insurance for accidents caused by unlicensed drivers.
Undocumented immigrants will receive a Temporary Visitor Driver's License, which the state has issued since 2005 to foreigners living legally in Illinois but who lack a Social Security number.
The license will cost $30 and be valid for three years. It may be requested by immigrants who have lived in Illinois for at least a year and who identify themselves with their passport or consular identity card.
In addition, applicants will have to pass vision tests and a traffic rules exam, as well as a driving exam and they must have insurance on the vehicles they drive. EFE