Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signs historic drivers’ licenses bill into law
New law to benefit the 5000 Irish undocumented living in Illinois
Illinois’ Governor Pat Quinn presided over a packed room in a south side Chicago immigrant center on Sunday January 27, when he signed into law a much vaunted bill that will provide temporary drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants in his state.
An impressive who’s who of Illinois politicians joined him on stage in support of the move and to express solidarity with the immigrant population, including Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Secretary of State Jesse White, Senate President Cullerton, Asst. Majority leader Acevedo ,Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno, House Minority Leader Tom Cross, Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle, Latino Caucus Co-Chairs Tony Munoz and Toni Berrios and Representative Lisa Hernandez.
Governor Quinn lauded those who worked on the bill and welcomed its arrival on his desk stating that Illinois was a leader in immigrant rights and a model for other states to follow. Illinois also passed the DREAM Act in 2010, which makes it possible for young people, brought here illegally by their parents when they were children, to secure a work permit. The Governor added that the President should be proud of his home state’s record on immigrant rights as he prepares to tackle comprehensive immigration reform in Washington DC this year.
Read More: Irish played key role in new Illinois undocumented drivers licenses law
Mayor Rahm Emmanuel also took to the stage to thank all those involved in bringing the bill past the finish line and spoke of his own immigrant grandfather coming to Chicago to escape anti-Semitism in Eastern Europe at the turn of the last century. He spoke of America being a nation of dreamers, a nod to the term used to describe the high school children eligible for the DREAM Act, and added that all of those who came to these shores did so with the dream that their children would better off than they.
“Only in America are these things possible” he retorted. He also reaffirmed his own commitment to keeping Chicago one of the most immigrant friendly cities in America and acknowledged the city’s open door policy to immigrants whether they hail from Ireland or Mexico.
The Irish were represented in the front row by Billy Lawless Chairman of the Chicago Celts for Immigration Reform; he was accompanied by fellow Celts board members Cyril Regan and Breandán Magee. The Chicago Celts played a pivotal role in the bill’s passage and joined forces with other immigrant groups to form a strong and formidable coalition that garnered bipartisan support in the legislature. Regan and Magee spent the final two days before the vote in the House of Representatives in Springfield pressing legislators to support the historic piece of legislation.
The vote count was tight up until the final hour and in a last ditch effort from all involved, including the Celts, key legislators swayed from hard no’s to the yes camp. The bill, which had earlier passed the Senate, cleared the House by 65 to 46 votes.
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"I believe that it is open to debate whether the Communist Party has any specific role to play at this particular stage of our political struggleRacist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent says Immigrant Council
Blimey, Chuck! Sounds like what is going on in the construction industry in the UK now happened 30 years ago in the USA. Can't say we weren't warned..Racist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent says Immigrant Council
Wow...........with a population of 4,600,000 in the Republic and approximately 15% non national its obviously a huge problemRacist incidents in Ireland up by 85 percent says Immigrant Council
Plus you have 3-5 million people of Irish ancestry living in the island of Britain as well. Most of the people I went to school with were sons and dau