WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/--
The Department of Homeland Security
On January 8, 2013, the Illinois General Assembly passed legislation (SB 957) to establish a "lower tier" driver's license for individuals who assert that they cannot provide proof of lawful presence within the United States. It now awaits Governor Quinn’s (D) signature. Despite the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police’s testimony on January 7 that the bill is “unsafe,” because it lacks “basic public safety and homeland security safeguards,” and despite bi-partisan opposition, SB 957 passed the House by a vote of 65 – 46.
Coalition for a Secure Driver’s License (CSDL) President Brian Zimmer said, "We concur with the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police. Given Illinois history and the state’s stiff gun laws, this law should have included safeguards. For example, applicants for these lower tier licenses should provide fingerprints that can be compared by state police against prison and jail records. Illinois needs to guard against foreign criminals getting driver’s licenses just so they can buy guns.”
SB 957 is very similar to a Utah law, which provides a driving privilege card to people who similarly assert they cannot provide proof of lawful presence. However, Illinois’s “temporary visitor’s driver’s license” application process will lack very important requirements contained in that Utah law.
There are several important differences between the Utah and Illinois driver’s license laws. Utah requires each applicant for its driving privilege card to present a passport or a foreign birth certificate. Illinois’s new law allows an applicant to present either a passport OR a consular ID card. This is a vital distinction. Passports are subject to internationally set standards for proof of identification under United Nation’s agreements. Consular IDs have no standards for issuance or for card security. Consular ID cards are not reliable proofs of identity or nationality, as the Federal Bureau of Investigation has testified before Congress.
Utah’s rules for proof of lawful presence match up well with federal REAL ID rules for driver’s license issuance, while those of Illinois do not. Utah complies with many of the REAL ID rules. Illinois, by contrast, does not come close to meeting the REAL ID security standards for driver’s license issuance.
Utah’s history of driver’s license issuance is virtually fraud free and untouched by scandal and the state has a very low crime rate.
Illinois has a very different history. Former Illinois Governor George Ryan was recently paroled from prison, where he served time for his role in the exchange of driver’s licenses for bribery. Chicago has also been the operating base for some of the largest transnational criminal operations, including the multi-million counterfeit ID operation run by the three Leija-Sanchez brothers. Illinois Senator Mark Kirk said in a 2010 statement that Illinois leads the nation in per capita gang members. According to federal authorities, Chicago is home to at least 18,000 members of the Latin Kings gang, who engage in violent disputes with other gangs such as Spanish Gangster Disciples, Latin Blood, The Thugs, Latin Counts and Sureños 13.