500-thousand undocumented immigrants expected to apply for driver's licenses

Dec 6, 2013

Starting this week, undocumented immigrants in Illinois can apply for a temporary driver’s license at a couple of facilities, but the program is set to expand statewide by next month thanks to an Illinois law approved earlier in the year. As IPR'S Sean Powers reports, the state estimates as many as 500-thousand people will apply.

43-year-old Gloria Lopez of Urbana has four children. She came to the U.S. a decade ago from Honduras, and she says she’s excited about getting the new Temporary Visitor Driver's License.

LOPEZ: (In Spanish) “Of course, we feel a little more secure because we know that we break the law if we’re driving without a license and with this permit, with the permit they are going to give us we can use our car and have our kids be more secure in picking them up from school or in an emergency.”

So far, two facilities in Chicago and Springfield are accepting applications for the driver’s licenses. By next week, there will be two more in Chicago and Bloomington, and by next month, that’ll expand to 36, including a facility in Champaign…near where Lopez lives.

The Secretary of State’s office says right now, some of these sites are accepting appointments. By December 16th, people can schedule to apply at any of these locations. To get the license, people need to take a driver’s tests, have insurance, and demonstrate at least a year of residency in Illinois.