The office of the Illinois Secretary of State began to schedule Tuesday the first appointments for a program beginning Dec. 3 that will allow undocumented immigrants in greater Chicago and Springfield to obtain driver's licenses.
In half a day's work, 3,100 appointments were made, Assistant Press Secretary Ernesto Martinez told Efe.
A second part of the program will begin in January, with 21 more towns around the state scheduling appointments in various languages and with no cost to applicants.
Martinez said that early in the day, telephone lines were blocked and the Web site bogged down because of the huge demand, but when all was going well the procedure took just two minutes per person to complete the application.
The office of the Illinois Secretary of State estimates that more than 100,000 temporary driver's licenses will be issued during the first year.
The temporary licenses that the undocumented receive are the same as are normally issued for three years to diplomats and the families of businessmen, artists and athletes living temporarily in the United States without a Social Security number.
They are to be used only for driving and are not valid as IDs.
To obtain a license, those interested must identify themselves with a valid passport or consular registration, as well as proof of their current address and that they have lived in Illinois for the past 12 months.
The Mexican Consulate in Chicago has stepped up its service to the public and announced Tuesday that it will be open next Saturday for the issuing of passports and consular registrations. EFE