Everyone seems to agree 250,000 undocumented immigrants are driving on Illinois roads.
That number has been included in various news stories and news broadcasts, and it is the number used by the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, which has pushed a measure in Springfield to grant those drivers Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses.
Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White and Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau used that number in a Letter to the Editor in the Sun-Times today. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart used it in a similar letter that appeared Monday.
As the Illinois Legislature today debates whether to make Temporary Visitor Driver's Licenses available to those motorists, it raises the question: Where does that number come from?
It starts with 550,000 -- the number of undocumented immigrants living in Illinois.
According to the ICIRR, "some portion" of that 550,000 are children and "some portion" are non-drivers. So subtract those two "some portions" and you get 250,000.
As for the 550,000 this equation starts with? That's an estimate, too.
Clearly, no one really knows how many undocumented immigrants are driving around Illinois. But it's a safe bet that the number is significant.
UPDATE: The bill for immigrant driver's licenses passed the House today 65-46, and is headed to Gov. Pat Quinn's desk.
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