New Illinois law brings changes to driver's license program for undocumented immigrants

Illinois enacted new laws on Monday, including tax increases and changes to a program for non-citizen driver's licenses that has been in place for a decade.

Illinois was one of the first states to issue driver's licenses to undocumented individuals ten and a half years ago. These "Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses" (TVDLs) were visually distinct from regular licenses, featuring a purple stripe instead of red, and clearly marked "Not Valid for Identification."

This distinction meant that TVDLs could not be used for activities like picking up prescriptions from pharmacies or signing apartment leases. However, under a new law effective today, undocumented individuals can now obtain standard driver's licenses.

"TVDLs have become synonymous with an individual's immigration status, and that purple marker has become a scarlet letter potentially exposing them to judgment, discrimination, or immigration enforcement," said Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias. "This legislation represents an important victory for public safety because if you teach people about the rules of the road and require them to pass a series of tests, they're going to be better drivers and exhibit better behavior on our roads."

The Secretary of State's office stated it has implemented additional safeguards to ensure that undocumented individuals cannot obtain a "REAL ID" or be registered to vote.