In Illinois, individuals seeking permanent residency in the United States have a more difficult time holding a temporary driver’s license than illegal immigrants. State Representative Dan Caulkins (R-Decatur) has filed a bill to change that.
Caulkins filed House Bill 4501 on behalf of Decatur residents Frank and Indira Byers. Mrs. Byers, a legal immigrant previously from Nicaragua could only obtain a driver’s license for 90 days while she waited to receive her Permanent Resident Card. Mrs. Byers, now a permanent resident of the United States wants to improve current law for other legal immigrants obtaining a temporary driver’s license.
“When it was brought to my attention that illegal immigrants may keep their driver’s license longer than legal immigrants, I knew it was time to correct the law,” said Rep. Caulkins. “What happened to the Byers family should not happen. My bill seeks to fix this unintended consequence, it’s just common sense.”
Under current state law, an “illegal” undocumented immigrant may hold a driver’s license for three years. Whereas, in Mrs. Byers case, a legal immigrant seeking permanent residency in the U.S. could only keep her driver’s license for 90 days before receiving a second 90 day renewal. Caulkins’ legislation will improve the law to provide a legal immigrant the opportunity to obtain a temporary driver’s license for three years instead of only 90 days.
According to Indira Byers of Decatur, “This legislation is a great step for people who want to be in this country legally and be treated as such. For a person who enters this wonderful country legally and who consistently meets all the legal requirements to remain in the United States, it will be a relief to know that other individuals may have an opportunity to obtain a driver’s license for the entire time it will take to receive a permanent residence card. It can be very inconvenient not being able to drive to take your children to school, head to the store for food and drive to work.”
Rep. Caulkins added, “Our current Vehicle Code puts legal immigrants at a disadvantage. Illegal immigrants should not receive better driving privileges than individuals which are here legally and follow the law. This legislation will remove the hurdles legal immigrants like Indira Byers faced when trying to obtain a driver’s license while waiting to receive permanent residency in the United States.”