While there are still other issues with undocumented immigrants, state legislatures across the country are now dealing with a new immigration-related issue – driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants.
Proposals to allow undocumented individuals to obtain driving privileges are not new. A number of states, Puerto Rico included, already offer driver’s licenses to undocumented individuals. This year, a new push across many states has put the issue back on the table.
Nebraska is the only state that currently bars Deferred Action (DACA) recipients from obtaining a driver’s license. Despite being shielded by DACA there are approximately 270,000 undocumented immigrants exposed to driving infractions for driving without a license. The issue is currently headed to the courtroom, where the American Civil Liberties Union is suing the Attorney General over the issue.
Unlike Arizona, where DACA beneficiaries were barred from obtaining a driver’s license until late last year due to an executive order issued by former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Nebraska’s Governor Pete Rickett’s opposes the state legislature’s efforts on undocumented driver’s licenses.
Undocumented individuals recognize the value and significance of these small pieces of plastic. Issues surrounding immigration policy are varied, and they manifest themselves in the debates of tuition and drivers licenses, but the patchwork of policies aiming to bring relief to immigrant families continues to grow.