Statement by William J. Kelly

Chicago, Illinois, January 6, 2013 – Here is William J. Kelly’s statement concerning the vote and possible passage of SB 957 to grant driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants in Illinois. The bill just passed the House Transportation Committee this morning:

Illinois politicians can spin it in any way they want; but everyone knows SB 957 is about politics, not policy. The bill has been fast-tracked from the beginning and Illinois Republicans leaders who support this bad bill are hoping GOP voters won’t notice their controversial vote in a last-ditch lame duck voting session in the House. Shame on Illinois legislators for trying to pull another fast one on the voters.

We are urging legislators of conscience to vote against this bad bill. We will continue to fight it, and if it passes the House and Gov. Quinn signs it, we will work tirelessly for its repeal.

The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) has been trying to get this legislation passed for a long time and they have targeted legislators who oppose them. The ICIRR also operates as the “Highway Safety Coalition,” which has a “law and order” ring to it. After all, who can be against “highway safety?”

The public doesn’t know what is really taking place behind the scenes here. The Highway Safety Coalition says that Illinois law enforcement supports this bill. But they do not. Illinois police chiefs and most Illinois sheriffs are against it. To suggest SB 957 is about public safety is nothing short of deceitful.

Illinois politicians who support the bill argue that they plan to use “biometrics” like facial recognition, not fingerprinting, to determine identity. ICIRR’s membership doesn’t want fingerprint identification. But why is our state law being determined by illegal aliens who don’t want to be fingerprinted?

Illinois, New Mexico, and other states have used biometrics in the identification process for years. But we still have driver’s license fraud in these states. Just this past June, nine people were arrested in a national driver’s license fraud ring in New Mexico involving the sale of hundreds of illegal licenses to foreigners in Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. Documents like rental agreements, utility bills, vehicle titles, and proof of insurance were forged to get the licenses. We have a problem now with a Chinatown driver’s license ring being investigated by the FBI involving the Illinois Secretary of State’s office.

This raises some serious questions about the use of passports and consular IDs to receive a TVDL in Illinois. Proponents of the bill argue that foreign governments have “no interest in enabling fraud.” Really, these documents aren’t subject to fraud? How much cooperation has the U.S. received from the Mexican government on the issue of illegal immigration? I’m skeptical about this bill and the public should be too.

Sheriff Mark Curran, a supporter of the bill, says that we need a “smart solution that allows cops to actually do their jobs and go after bad guys and (not good people just trying to go to work, school or church).” But more than 80,000 accidents a year are caused by these “good” illegal immigrants on their way to work, school, and church at a cost of $660 million to insured drivers. A smart solution isn’t a solution that panders; it’s a solution that works.

All we have heard from SB 957’s proponents in Springfield is that we – the people of Illinois – need to “trust them” on this bill. Illinois politicians tell us that they know what they are doing and there won’t be any fraud or abuse. But Illinois politicians haven’t earned our trust. Whether it is driver’s licenses and convicted Illinois governors or billions in unfunded pension liabilities, we have a broken system in Illinois and issuing driver’s licenses to illegal aliens isn’t going to help.

This bad bill’s proponents are concerned about getting the vote of illegal immigrants. But a vote in favor of SB 957 may lose politicians the vote of another key voting demographic: the legal citizens of Illinois.


William J. Kelly is available for comment on this issue. He is a longtime Republican activist and former statewide candidate for Illinois comptroller in 2010.

Video of Kelly discussing the issue with Gov. Jim Edgar is available here.
YouTube – Videos from this email



  1. How can Republicans pass this bill??? No backbone. We have to get the Republicans that approved this bill out of office. This is not only a slap in the face to Americans it’s an insult to legal immigrants

  2. This is a part of the crony networking in Illinois. Where is the justice in this? This is politics. Common sense has nothing common about it when it comes to what the governor passes and what doesn’t. He is not thinking about justice at all.

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