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art by Favianna Rodriguez

Art by Favianna Rodriguez

“ Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral. ” – Paulo Freire, Educator

VICTORY! Illinois House passes S.B. 957

Here's the message we sent to our members. After you've read it, please add your voice.

Drivers' Licenses For All

Tell Speaker Madigan To Move Now

Dear Friend,

Imagine if you had to risk being forcibly removed from your family and your home every day that you drove a car to work or to a store. That's what millions of undocumented immigrants go through every day. For the first time in a long time we have a chance to change this for the better and set a strong pro-migrant example in a key state as the immigration conversation heats up in 2013.

A bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to earn drivers' licenses passed the Illinois Senate with a strong bipartisan majority 41-14 early last month1. The Illinois House only has until Jan. 8, only six days, to act but Democrat Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has yet to move the bill.

Can you tell Speaker Madigan to pass S.B. 957 right now?

When you sign the petition an email will be sent directly to Speaker Madigan's office. If 2,000 of you write to Speaker Madigan's office we'll start directing hundreds of calls to his office and we'll work with people locally to make sure this bill gets passed.

There's not an undocumented person I know that would drive without a drivers' license if she or he could help it. For most of us in this country, though, driving is necessary to make a living. So, undocumented people put their lives on the line every day. They are just a traffic violation or a racist cop away from potential deportation.

With the xenophobic wave that hit our country after 9/11, drivers' licenses have been steadily taken away from undocumented immigrants. But we finally have a chance to turn the tide in Illinois, and possibly for the rest of the country. Latinos helped Democrats win big in Illinois, this election. Democrats won an unprecedented super majority in both the State House and Senate and also knocked out four Republican congressional seats2. Speaker Madigan himself, the most powerful political leader in Illinois, has a district that is 60% Latino.

Tell Speaker Madigan that you want drivers' licenses for undocumented immigrants, now.

President Obama deported 1.5 million people in his first term, many of them for being pulled over on the road. In just the last two years over 200,000 people have been deported with U.S. citizen children3. Getting drivers' licenses for undocumented immigrants in President Obama's home state would help protect 250,000 Illinois residents from deportation and make Illinois roads safer4. It would also start a year where immigration reform is going to be a major conversation on the right foot.

Latinos delivered for Democrats in 2012. It's time for Speaker Madigan to deliver for us.

Thanks and !adelante!
Arturo, Erick, Ana, and the rest of the Presente.org Team


1. "[Undocumented] Immigrant Drivers' License Measure Sails Through Illinois Senate." Chicago Tribune. Dec. 4, 2012.
2."Illinois GOP Regroups After Real Stunner of An Election." Chicago Business. Nov. 7, 2012.
3. "Nearly 205K Deportations of Parents of U.S. Citizens in Just Over Two Years." Colorlines.com. Dec. 17, 2012.
4. How Illinois Benefits When All Motorists Get Licensed." Highway Safety Coalition. Jan. 2, 2012.