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Report: 85,000 temporary driver's licenses issued to Illinois' undocumented immigrants

FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2014 file photo, immigrant and longtime resident in the United States Rosalva Mireles is photographed by Jesus Sanchez of Spanish language newspaper El Commercio, after Mireles was processed for her permanent driver's license, and received a temporary one to use until it is ready, at a Department of Motor Vehicles office, in Denver. Colorado Democrats are decrying a Republican decision to not add funding to a program allowing immigrants to get driver's licenses regardless of their legal status. There's been high demand for the program since it launched last year. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2014 file photo, immigrant and longtime resident in the United States Rosalva Mireles is photographed by Jesus Sanchez of Spanish language newspaper El Commercio, after Mireles was processed for her permanent driver's license, and received a temporary one to use until it is ready, at a Department of Motor Vehicles office, in Denver. Colorado Democrats are decrying a Republican decision to not add funding to a program allowing immigrants to get driver's licenses regardless of their legal status. There's been high demand for the program since it launched last year. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)  (AP)

More than 85,000 undocumented immigrants living in Illinois have driver’s licenses under a new state program.

The tally comes after the first full year that the program – which allows undocumented immigrants to obtain a license that is good for up to three years – has been in place in Illinois, the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises reported.

Illinois Secretary of State spokesman Henry Haupt says nearly 190,000 people have scheduled appointments since the program began in late 2013.

“(Secretary of State Jesse White) thinks the program has been very successful,” he said.

The $30 licenses may only be used for diving. They can’t be used as identification for activities like boarding a plane, voting or buying a firearm.

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In 2013, Illinois became the 10th state to give undocumented immigrants a legal path to driving. Since then, other states have begun similar programs.

Supporters say the law saves Illinois motorists money and make roads safer. Critics say the state should be cracking down on immigrants who entered the country illegally

Based on reporting by the Associated Press.

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