HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)-- A big push is underway at the State Capitol to pass a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to get a Connecticut driver's license.
The advocates say it would make the roads safer because those here illegally would be able to go to driving school and buy auto insurance.
By one estimate; there may be more than 50,000 illegal immigrants behind the wheel in Connecticut driving with no license, no training, and no insurance.
Armando Morales, of East Haven, found out the hard way when his car, loaded with his wife and children, was in a crash with another car.
"When we received the police report, we found out that the guy left the scene," said Morales. When asked if the other driver had no insurance or driver's license, Morales said,"I'm assuming that because the car wasn't registered or insured."
"These are folks who are looking to do the right thing," said Rev. James Manship, St. Rose of Lima Church, New Haven.
Clergy and the mayors of eight of the state's largest cities are calling on state lawmakers to change that and Monday they got the assurance of the state's top lawmakers that it will happen.
"When this bill passes we will have more trained drivers, we will have more insured drivers, we will have more registered vehicles," said Sen. Martin Looney, (D) Majority Leader.
Many who would be affected by such a law were also there Monday.
Like Gilberto Palma who lives in West Haven. He was brought to this country from Mexico by his parents when he was much younger.
"I'd be happy to pay for insurance, I'd be happy to get my license. I'd be happy to help myself and Connecticut," said Palma.
The DMV says they can do this, but it would require more than just two forms of residency like an electric bill.
"We would, of course, insist upon the fact that they prove who they are, they would have to have a passport, a birth certificate from their home country," said Cmsr. Melody Currey, CT DMV.
The Governor said Monday that he also endorses the concept as a way to help make roads and highways safer.
"Status and safety are two separate issues. I want safe highways," said Gov. Dannel Malloy. When asked if he would sign it, Malloy said "absolutely."
The House chairman of the Transportation Committee; Tony Guerra of Rocky Hill, a Democrat; tells News 8 the committee didn't bring this bill up for a vote in committee because he, and the ranking Republican committee members, wanted to study the issue before rushing into it.
But, the Democratic leadership apparently believes it can be done within the next five weeks.
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