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Rahm Emanuel pushes for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants

BlancRodriguez 16 is comforted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Father Brendan Curran prays St. Pius Church 1919 S. Ashland. Sunday

Blanca Rodriguez 16, is comforted by Mayor Rahm Emanuel as Father Brendan Curran prays at St. Pius Church 1919 S. Ashland. Sunday, January 6, 2013 | Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 8, 2013 6:23AM



Mayor Rahm Emanuel rallied support Sunday at a predominantly Latino church for legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to obtain state driver’s licenses.

“This is a fight not just about driver’s licenses, but about who we are,” Emanuel told parishioners, business leaders and immigration activists at St. Pius Catholic Church on the Southwest Side.

The legislation passed the Illinois Senate last month and faces a committee vote this week in the Illinois House.

If passed, the measure would allow all immigrants to obtain driver’s training, licenses and insurance.

Emanuel argued that the legislation makes sense because it would be a progressive step to help regulate the estimated 250,000 immigrant drivers who don’t have licenses.

“Let us lead the country again, by giving those immigrants a driver’s license so they can take their kids to school and go to work,” Emanuel said during church services.

The bill would continue Chicago’s tradition of accepting immigrants into the community.

“It’s one dream, one vision, to come to this country and build a future for your children,” Emanuel said.

A teenage parishioner recounted that she is afraid whenever her father — an undocumented immigrant — drives her to school or goes to work, because he may be stopped for having no license, then face deportation.

“If my parents get a driver’s license, it would be great,” said Blanca Rodriguez, 16. “I’m very hopeful.”



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