Illinois Votes to Let Undocumented Immigrants Get Driver’s Licenses

Victory Ends 13-Year Struggle; Marks Seminal Growth of Latino Voting Power

The recent vote by the Illinois House of Representatives allowing undocumented immigrants to get driver’s licenses not only ends a 13-year struggle for this right, it also is one of the first concrete demonstrations of the power Latinos voiced in 2012 at the ballot box. The House passed the bill 65-to-46. The Senate had already approved the bill so the measure goes to Gov. Pat Quinn, who has said he supports it.

“On Election Day, the Latino and immigrant community came out in full force in support of Democrats and helped get many elected,” said Lawrence Benito, Chief Executive Officer of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR). “Today is the very first reverberation of that work in real legislative terms.  This victory will keep the energy level high among Latinos and other immigrants as we work toward our next big victory this year: passing comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level that will include a path to citizenship.”

“Nationally this vote sends a clear message,” said Kica Matos, Director of Immigrant Rights and Racial Justice for the Center for Community Change, “The bipartisan victory speaks to the real power created by turning out voters and naturalizing immigrants over the last 13 years. ICIRR has built a strong coalition of allies from business, health and faith communities who came together in support of immigrant families. We are seeing this kind of transformational power on display in state after state.”

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