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Federal Government Issues Guidance Confirming States Should Allow DREAMers to Apply for Driver’s Licenses
FAQs send important clarification to states
WASHINGTON - January 18 - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance today clarifying that young immigrants who qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are authorized to stay and lawfully present in the country, confirming that they are eligible for driver’s licenses.
The federal guidance issued today sends a clear message to the states – these young immigrants, who were brought to the country as children, are authorized to stay here,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Allowing our nation’s hard-working immigrant youth to get driver’s licenses is not only required by law, but enables them to drive to school and work so they can continue reaching for their dreams, which benefits all Americans.”
The FAQs were issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a part of DHS.
The DACA program was announced in June. Since then, a fraction of states — Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska and, most recently, Iowa — have decided not to issue licenses to these individuals even though the federal government has authorized them to stay in the country for a renewable period of two years and apply for a work permit. These individuals, who were brought to the country as children, are commonly known as DREAMers.
Just this week, Oregon’s governor and North Carolina’s attorney general said their states should issue driver’s licenses to DACA recipients, and Illinois’ governor recently said he will sign such a bill in his state.
The ACLU and its partners have filed lawsuits in Arizona and Michigan.
To read the USCIS FAQs: www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.