The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a nonprofit organization, called for Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn to veto SB 957. The organization issued a press release yesterday saying the bill is dangerous and that it ignores warnings issued by the 9/11 Commission.
"Enactment of SB 957 would pose a threat to the safety and security of the nation. As such, it is not simply a state matter, but an issue of concern to all Americans," stated Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "We strongly urge Gov. Quinn to act responsibly and veto SB 957."
The approved legislation would grant Illinois driver licenses to illegal aliens as long as they have car insurance. The bill was approved by the state senate in December and was approved by the state house yesterday. A summary of the bill on the state's website said that the bill:
Allows the Secretary of State to issue temporary visitor's driver's licenses to applicants who have resided in this State for more than a year, are ineligible to obtain a social security number, and who are unable to present documentation issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services authorizing the person's presence in this country ... Prohibits a temporary visitor's driver's license from being used as proof of the holder's identity. Establishes that holders of the licenses are subject to other Vehicle Code regulations, including insurance requirements.
FAIR's press release stated:
SB 957 ignores explicit warnings by the blue ribbon commission that investigated the attacks of 9/11 that making government-issued identification documents available to people who are in the country illegally poses a serious threat to homeland security. Even though Illinois licenses issued to illegal aliens could not be used to board commercial airliners, the 9/11 Commission report noted that such documents were vital to the terrorists' planning an execution of the attacks.
This is presumably what the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was trying to prevent with the REAL ID. Thirteen states, including Tennessee, are REAL ID compliant and are supposed to begin issuing the new IDs this year. In order to obtain the new ID, people will need to prove their citizenship or legal status. These new IDs will eventually be required to board commercial aircraft, enter federal buildings, and enter nuclear power plants. Illinois isn't REAL ID compliant.
DHS was asked if they had any official viewpoint on the legislation and they responded, "DHS’s goal is to implement the REAL ID Act, as required by law, in a measured, fair, and responsible way."
FAIR said that the Ill. bill cannot positively confirm the identities of foreign nationals who apply for licenses and that the state will likely be helping people create fake identities. "When people who pose a danger to American society are able to create new identities with assistance of the Illinois Department of Motor Vehicles, we will all face precisely the sort of threat the 9/11 Commission warned about," Stein said.
New Mexico and Washington are currently the only states that issue driver licenses to illegal immigrants. FAIR said that those states "have found pervasive use of false addresses and fraudulent documents by non-resident illegal aliens to obtain licenses."
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