Chicago, Illinois, December 5, 2012 – Are Illinois lawmakers misleading the public on a new bill to permit 250,000 illegal immigrants to receive state-issued driver’s licenses?
During a press conference Tuesday morning, Illinois GOP leaders admitted there is an insurance ‘loophole’ in SB957. The bill’s proponents have cited the bill’s requirement for illegal immigrants to buy insurance before receiving a driver’s license as a public safety issue.
Illinois Gov. Jim Edgar attempted explain the legislation’s misleading insurance provision in this EXCLUSIVE interview.
In a – at times – very heated one-on-one exchange, Edgar, a Republican sounded like more like a Democrat, insisting on using the term, ‘undocumented workers’ instead of ‘illegal alien.’ He also refused to say whether SB957 is for people who are in the country ‘illegally’ and that he “doesn’t know what’s in the Republican Party platform.”
Edgar was also asked about Illinois’ sordid history of licenses-for-bribes.
Former Gov. George Ryan is currently serving prison time for racketing, tax evasion, and conspiracy for his role in a driver’s license for bribes kickback scheme in the Illinois Secretary of State’s office. 80 other Illinois officials were ultimately indicted for their participation in a scheme that allowed state employees to ‘rig’ driver’s licenses exams, enabling unqualified applicants – including illegal immigrants – to pass the test.
In 1994, Ricardo Guzman, an illegally licensed truck driver, caused the deaths of the six Willis children in a horrific car crash near the Wisconsin border and a federal investigation ensued.
Here is a full transcript of this EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW:
KELLY: So you are saying that this illegal driver’s license legislation does not in any way guarantee insurance?
GOV. JIM EDGAR: Current driver’s license, the same thing could happen. But this bill will require people to buy insurance to keep their license. You are making the same argument about the uninsured – but they do get it.
KELLY: But those are legal citizens. This is a bill specifically for illegal aliens.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: This is for undocumented people who are contributing to our society, who work, who take their kids to school, and who need a car.
KELLY: You’re not talking about legal immigrants; you are talking about illegal aliens.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: We’re talking about undocumented people, you can call them whatever you want. I call them ‘undocumented immigrants.’
KELLY: We’re talking about people who are in this country illegally.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: People who don’t have insurance today, their insurance lapse, same problem. There is more safeguard in this than for the average motorist.
KELLY: But it is important to clarify: we are specifically talking about people who are in this country illegally.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: Some of them, there are some others who are included in this too.
KELLY: But those people can already get a temporary driver’s license.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: But there’s no guarantee they have insurance.
KELLY: But there’s no guarantee that this bill for driver’s licenses will cause them to get insurance. The insurance comes with the vehicle.
GOV. JIM EDGAR They are going to want to get the insurance to keep their license. This is very important to them.
KELLY: Are you renouncing the Republican Party platform?
GOV. JIM EDGAR: I don’t know what’s in the Illinois platform. I don’t pay much attention. This is common sense here.
KELLY: Both the state and national Republican Party Platform opposes illegal immigration to this country.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: We’re talking about a fact here. We’re not talking about whether these people are legal or illegal. They’re here. They’re driving. We want to make the highway safe. Most Republicans I know want safe highways.
KELLY: You know that George Ryan is in prison because of an illegal driver’s license scheme.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: Yeah, because we didn’t have a law like this.
KELLY: This would have prevented that? Guzman, who was responsible for the deaths of the six Willis children…
GOV. JIM EDGAR: He paid somebody off. Because you don’t have to do that now, you can get a license. You don’t have to worry about whether you have to pay somebody off.
KELLY: He didn’t have to worry about it either.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: Yes, he did. He was illegal.
KELLY: That’s the first time I’ve heard that.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: That’s what you said.
KELLY: So you said that without even knowing the facts.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: You said he was.
KELLY: No, I said he got an illegal driver’s license.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: OK, what I’m just saying is that you don’t have to have – the pressure isn’t as much on the undocumented. They can legally get a license.
KELLY: But here’s one final question if I may. So if we have another Willis family tragedy, will that blood be on your hands?
GOV. JIM EDGAR: This won’t cause that. This will reduce that.
KELLY: This will reduce that? Ricardo Guzman was getting a driver’s license through “legal” means.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: He didn’t take the test.
KELLY: You’re saying that Illinois politicians can be trusted to administer this type of program? They aren’t known for waste, fraud, abuse, corruption.
GOV. JIM EDGAR: I didn’t it for ten years and I think we were honest, yes.
KELLY: That’s a pretty interesting spin on the deaths of six Willis children.