Mayor Emanuel Visits St. Pius V Parish, Urges Passage of Highway Safety Legislation
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at St. Pius V Parish On Jan. 6 that Illinois can lead the nation by passing legislation that will give undocumented residents of the state temporary driver’s licenses. Emmanuel told parishioners attending Epiphany Mass at the largely Mexican Pilsen-neighborhood parish that everyone in Illinois deserves the right to safe streets and that passing legislation to support driver’s licenses for immigrants will help remind us of who we are as a nation.
He spoke at the invitation of St. Pius V pastor Father Brendan Curran, OP, and after hearing the story of Blanca, a U.S. born high school student who said that police stopped her father for supposedly missing a stop sign while he was taking her to catechism class at St. Pius V. Her father is an undocumented immigrant and Blanca said that she was afraid she’d never see her father again, fearing that he’d be deported.
Students like Blanca should not have to fear being separated from their parents who are working hard and trying to support a family, Mayor Emanuel said. “This is not who we are as a nation,” he added, citing the many ethnic groups that make up “the most American of American cities, Chicago.”
The Illinois Senate recently passed SB 957, with bipartisan support. The bill will be discussed in a hearing of the Vehicles & Safety Committee on Monday Jan. 7 and could be voted on before the end of the week. It will allow undocumented residents who’ve been in the state for a year to get a driver’s license and will require them to pass the driver’s test and have auto insurance.
Father Brendan blessed Mayor Emanuel, 25th Ward Alderman Danny Solis and Blanca, who will join other community activists in Springfield tomorrow to support the legislation. Father Brendan said the Mayor is a courageous supporter of immigrants and he has made Illinois a safer place for all citizens buy supporting the highway safety legislation. He and Mayor Emmanuel both urged parishioners to make their wishes on this legislation known to their state representatives.