Illinois’ top leaders said Tuesday that they will push to issue driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants — testing federal strictures and becoming the latest sign that the pendulum has swung away from Arizona-style crackdowns and toward those pursuing a softer line on immigration.
Surrounded by Republicans and Democrats at a news conference, state Senate President John Cullerton said he will try to pass legislation in the coming weeks, and Gov. Pat Quinn said he will sign it if it reaches his desk.
“This is a safety issue that impacts every driver in Illinois, and we should join together to take swift action to save lives,” said Mr. Quinn, a Democrat. “Making sure all motorists, regardless of their background, are licensed and insured will drive economic growth and ease the financial burden on all Illinois motorists.”
The move represents the first major backtrack by a state since the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks nearly a decade ago, when the hijackers used licenses, often obtained by fraud, to board the airplanes they used to target the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and, potentially, the U.S. Capitol or White House.