Some Illinois senators say they're tired of waiting for the federal government to modernize immigration law. Aren't we all? But that's a poor justification for their proposal to issue illegal immigrants driver's licenses.
Perhaps the senators are thinking of all the extra revenue this could generate for Illinois. About 250,000 illegal immigrants might qualify for the special licenses. They no doubt are pandering to the Hispanic vote, which was key in President Obama's re-election.
But let's re-emphasize the key word in all this: Illegal. And Illinois is going to give illegal immigrants a driver's license?
Senate President John Cullerton argues that the rest of us are better off if illegal immigrants are tested to make sure they know how to drive, can see well and have automobile insurance. But if they don't mind breaking federal immigration law, they are unlikely to respect this law, either, or the insurance requirement.
The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that immigration is a federal issue. The answer for Illinois isn't to pass ill-conceived legislation but rather to push federal lawmakers to do their jobs. Federal lawmakers need to develop a clear path for immigrants to either stay here legally or leave the country. The driver's license part will work itself out if they do that.