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Editorial: Keep law for safer roads going in right direction

Gov. PQuinn

Gov. Pat Quinn

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Updated: March 1, 2013 7:41PM

Legislation that allows undocumented immigrants in Illinois to get temporary visitor drivers licenses sailed into law this week with the backing of everyone from Gov. Pat Quinn to Rahm Emanuel to top state Republicans.

Now it’s up to all of them to make sure the law does not lead to dangerous unintended consequences, including identity fraud, which other states have learned the hard way can happen.

We supported this law because it will encourage tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants who already are driving the state’s roads to take the same vision, written and road tests as other drivers and to get insurance.

But the three states that went down this road before Illinois — New Mexico, Utah and Washington — have struggled with pitfalls.

In New Mexico, 48 people, in order to get licenses, claimed to live in the same smoke shop in Albuquerque. Authorities also uncovered a fraud ring forging documents to get New Mexico licenses for immigrants across the country. To stop identity fraud, Utah amended its law in 2011 to require fingerprinting.

Illinois’ law promises to make our roads safer. But it must be monitored carefully.

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