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Illinois Teamsters Applaud Passage of Immigrant Driver's License Bill
Updated On: Jan 09, 2013

 Teamsters Joint Council 25 commended the Illinois General Assembly on Tuesday for passing the state’s first bill granting temporary driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants.

Backed by Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senate Bill 957 will allow an estimated 250,000 illegal immigrants already living and working in Illinois to receive three-year renewable licenses. While the licenses cannot be used for official identification—such as for voting or air travel—they will allow immigrant workers to more easily obtain car insurance and safely navigate Illinois’ 140,000 miles of roads and tollways.

“Illinois and the Teamsters Union are welcoming to immigrants from all walks of life, both in our workplaces and our communities,” said John T. Coli, President of Joint Council 25. “The new law will make great strides towards protecting all drivers in our state. It is far better to have licensed immigrants and motorists driving to and from work in a responsible way than it is for workers to further shirk the law just to make a living.”

To be eligible for a new license, a person must reside in Illinois for at least one year and be unable to obtain a Social Security card or proper immigration documentation. Licensees will also have to undergo rules-of-the-road training, pass a vision test and show proof of insurance. The bill will become effective through the Secretary of State’s office 10 months after becoming law. Gov. Quinn is expected to sign the bill.

“In addition to protecting their families and other drivers, immigrants who obtain these licenses will put themselves in a better position to find good-paying, honest work in the transportation industry,” Coli said. “Worker safety and accountability are paramount issues for the Teamsters Union, and we applaud Illinois legislators for establishing such a responsible program.”

For many years, President Coli has made immigrant rights a priority for Joint Council 25. Since 2009, he has represented labor on the White House’s Immigration Roundtable, participating in immigration discussions with Hispanic organizations, law enforcement associations, activists and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Coli was most recently in Washington to meet at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building with roughly 50 representatives from minority organizations and members of the American Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Teamsters Joint Council 25 represents more than 125,000 hardworking men and women throughout Illinois and northwest Indiana.

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