The legislature’s transportation committee bill deadline has come and gone and a proposal that would permit undocumented immigrants to obtain a state-issued drivers license failed to win approval.
But Senate Majority Leader Martin Looney, a leading advocate of the bill, isn’t giving up hope. “It seems to me to make sense,” the New Haven Democrat said. “There are a whole host of policy arguments in favor of it.”
Looney and other supporters say permitting undocumented immigrants to obtain licenses will make the streets safer because more drivers would be trained; they would also be required to carry insurance. As many of as 54,000 undocumented immigrants would qualify if the legislation is approved. Connecticut would be the fourth state to enact such a law, after New Mexico, Washington state and, most recently Illinois.
Looney said he is currently working to find a bill on a related topic that could be amended to include the proposal. “We’re looking for a vehicle now,” he said.
Meanwhile, proponents will hold a rally at the Capitol on April 29 in an effort to galvanize support for the proposal. A public hearing on the bill in New Haven in early March drew more than 2,000 people–including members of the clergy, urban leaders and immigrants. The overwhelming majority of those who attended spoke in favor of the bill.