On Thursday November 15, 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and 28 Chicago Aldermen urged the Illinois General Assembly to have courage and put highway safety first by passing legislation in veto session 2012 to require all Illinois drivers including 250,000 undocumented drivers to be trained, tested, licensed and insured.
“Chicago supports this important, sensible, and reasonable legislation to protect our Illinois highways and families,” said Alderman Danny Solis.
“Arc of history always bends towards justice,” said Alderman Edward M. Burke. “In 1850s, Chicago City Council refused to enforce the Fugitive Slave Act so that officials here in Chicago couldn’t cooperate with marshals that were tracking down fugitive slaves.”
Illinois is home to approximately 250,000 immigrant motorists who are unable to get a driver’s license and insurance. Unlicensed and uninsured immigrant drivers cost us all $64 million in damage claims. Last year 42% of all fatal crashes in Illinois involved unlicensed drivers, and nationwide, unlicensed motors are five times likelier to be in a fatal crash than licensed drivers. Washington and New Mexico already require all motorists, including undocumented immigrants, to get driver’s license. Since New Mexico made this change in 2003, its rate of uninsured motorists fell from 33% to under 9%. New Mexico also saw a 24% decrease in alcohol-related crashes and a 25% drop in traffic fatalities.
“As members of City Council’s Black Caucus, we strongly supported a city resolution urging General Assembly to license and insure all immigrant drivers,” said Alderman Walter Burnett.
“It’ll make our streets and our highways safer,” said Alderman Joe Moore, whose ward includes a virtual United Nations.
In recent days, the Catholic Conference of Illinois, 150 Evangelical Pastors, Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune have called for sensible solutions to our broken immigration system. In Illinois, 56,108 children have lost at least one parent due to deportations. One common way for being caught up in the deportation dragnet is being pulled over for driving without a license. Licensing and insuring all immigrant drivers is the sensible, reasonable solution to protect our highways and families.
“This is really, what we call a triple bottom line issue. It’s a justice issue. It’s a safety issue. And it’s an economic issue,” said Alderman Joe “Proco” Moreno.
The legislation is co-sponsored by Senate President John Cullerton and Majority Leader Edward “Eddie” Acevedo. Additionally, the legislation counts with wide support from the Highway Safety Coalition, a broad spectrum of law enforcement, healthcare, business, labor, faith and community leaders.