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Let illegal immigrants get licenses

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart

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Updated: February 8, 2013 6:09AM



Let illegal immigrants get licenses

As sheriff of Illinois’ largest county, I am responsible for providing safe roads. We are all safer when every driver is trained, tested, licensed and insured. That is why I support SB957, legislation that requires unlicensed immigrant drivers to obtain Temporary Visitor Driver’s Licenses.

Illinois already offers a Temporary Visitor Driver’s License to immigrants with non-work visas. Immigrants are driving every day. They need to get to work, take their children to school, shop at grocery stores or go to church. The TVDLs are visually distinct with a purple background. They are marked on the front that they are not valid for identification purposes, meaning that they cannot be used to vote, purchase a firearm or board a plane. SB957 expands the TVDL to allow immigrants to drive here legally, on a temporary basis, as long as they are trained, tested and have proof of insurance.

Unlicensed and uninsured drivers inflict a cost on all of us. In Illinois alone, these drivers are involved in 8,000 accidents each year at a cost of $64 million in damage claims. In 2011, 42 percent of all fatal crashes in Illinois involved an unlicensed driver. Nationwide, unlicensed drivers are five times likelier to be involved in a fatal crash than licensed drivers. These accidents drive up the cost of insurance for all of us.

With even half of the 250,000 unlicensed immigrants licensed and insured, Illinois policyholders would save $46 million per year. Other states that have passed similar laws have seen their uninsured motorist rates plummet. Since New Mexico began issuing licenses to immigrants in 2003, its rate of uninsured motorists fell from 33 percent to 9 percent while its alcohol-related crashes decreased by 24 percent and its traffic fatalities rate dropped by 25 percent.

When immigrants can drive legally, our roads will be safer, our insurance rates will be lower, and our economy will be stronger from the work and buying power of all of our state’s residents. The Illinois Senate demonstrated commendable courage and common sense when it passed SB957. It is my hope that the governor be given the opportunity to sign this important legislation.

Tom Dart, sheriff,

Cook County

About those CTA fares

We used to tell friends flying into O’Hare to visit us in the Loop: “Take the Blue Line; it’s slow, but it’s cheap.” Now, we only can say, “It’s slow.”

Philip L. Blackwell, Loop

Gay marriage support

Our endorsement and support for The Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act is motivated by our faith as Catholics. It also is motivated by our civic responsibilities as citizens of this state to support all forms of civil rights and human rights. It is the roots of our faith that calls us to be responsible citizens.

We have heard from other religious leaders who are opposed to this bill solely on the ecclesiology of their jurisdiction. While their norms and customs demand our respect, their arguments lack the foundation for the statewide conversation we are in.

Theocratic arguments toward civil legislation are by their nature unnatural and unable to make a procreative contribution to this discernment process. In most cases, many of these theocratic arguments have been historically used to continue the procreation of slavery in the United States and after Reconstruction to justify many of the Jim Crow laws of the South.

If religious institutions wish to limit marriage to only heterosexual couples, that is their right within their internal forum. It is unnatural to impose their practices upon the secular society.

We believe that the institution of marriage will strengthen ALL married couples through the inclusion of gender-common couples. Not only would marriage equality provide gender-common couples the civil rights of marriage, but it also will deepen their obligations and contributions to society as a whole. We believe that God calls us to work for the common good for all and marriage equality is a step in the direction for the common good of all people.

James Alan Wilkowski,

Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest

East Side

Ignore NRA

At last a name to go with the acronym NRA. Wayne LaPierre is as fine an example of a man living in a bubble as one could imagine.

It boggles the mind to think this man and this organization can turn the knees and spines of our elected officials to jelly.

To our legislators everywhere: Man and woman up. Anyone outside the military or law enforcement who feels the need to own automatic firearms for protection or any other reason has issues. The very least politicians can do is ban private ownership and sales of these kinds of weapons of mass destruction.

Juanita Jarard, Homewood



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