DACA Trickling Its Way In

The Huffington Post 

In June 2012, the Obama Administration announced that it would put an end to deportations and grant work permits for eligible immigrant students. The policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was intended to affect mainly young, undocumented immigrants who entered the United States as children. President Obama had intended for this population to receive the same benefits proposed in his Dream Act that passed in the House of Representatives but failed, in 2010, in the Senate. Obama’s plan is to “enable Dream Act-eligible young people, often called DREAMers, to stay in the United States without fear of deportation…”

Aside from the benefits that DACA should achieve for young immigrants, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano, points out how the nation as a whole will benefit in effectively directing its resources and security efforts: “It will help us to continue to streamline immigration enforcement and ensure that resources are not spent pursuing the removal of low-priority cases involving productive young people.”

Undocumented immigrants have expressed their gratitude and delight at the President’s response to immigrants’ rights groups, which they say have gone ignored for decades.

Some states, nor surprisingly, were reluctant to endorse and cooperate under the Obama Administration’s DACA policy. Even after many of the immigrants obtained the necessary paperwork and were granted the ability to stay and work legally in the United States for two years, state officials found ways to hinder their adjustment to life in the United States. For example, Michigan, Iowa, Arizona, Nebraska and North Carolina banned those approved immigrants from obtaining driver’s licenses. It is easy to see how not being able to obtain a driver’s license could impair one’s ability to work and make use of DACA’s practical initiatives. The Huffington Post

Recently, however, Michigan Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson, announced that, after the state conducted its review it found deferred action recipients to be legally eligible and now permits them to apply for driver’s licenses. Michigan officials announced that they are looking forward to “a more welcoming and inclusive Michigan.” Iowa also decided to amend its policies concerning driver’s licenses for DACA-approved immigrants. Lets hope the other three states (Arizona, Nebraska, and North Carolina) follow suit. The Huffington Post

Why do you think Michigan and Iowa decided to switch its stance on immigration policy?


  1. There could be many reasons why Secretary Ruth Johnson of Michigan changed her stance on this issue. One of the reasons could be the law suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan last month against her over Michigan’s aforementioned drivers’ license policy. (http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/michigan_secretary_of_state_to.html).

    More than likely though, the reason is the recent guidelines sent out by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). (http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=3a4dbc4b04499310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=3a4dbc4b04499310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD).

    Ms. Johnson’s stance was based on her belief that according to her interpretation of the language of DACA, a recipient of DACA was not considered legally present. (http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/michigan_secretary_of_state_to.html).

    Michigan law prevents the issuance of drivers’ licenses to people that are not legally present. (Id.). The recent guidelines from USCIS now state though that a beneficiary of the DACA program is legally present. (http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis/menuitem.eb1d4c2a3e5b9ac89243c6a7543f6d1a/?vgnextoid=3a4dbc4b04499310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD&vgnextchannel=3a4dbc4b04499310VgnVCM100000082ca60aRCRD).

    Ms. Johnson stated: “The feds now say they consider these young people to be lawfully present while they participate in the DACA program, so we are required to issue driver’s licenses and identification cards. I will continue to follow the law.” (http://www.mlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2013/02/michigan_secretary_of_state_to.html).

    The ACLU is planning to drop their law suit. (Id.).

  2. We need to keep our smart, competitive young people in the country, especially when they spent most of their lives here. These children are educated in American schools and should receive the same opportunities as everyone else. Our country was founded on immigrant labor and we should not forget that. I feel that anybody currently in the country who is willing to work legally and pay taxes should be able to stay.
    Requiring a driver’s license as a form of ID is understandable, but a state not allowing a DACA-approved person to obtain one is terrible and I am glad that states are beginning to reverse their positions. If the “legal presence” situation Mr. Rivera mentioned was the reason that these other three states are resisting offering DACA-approved persons driver’s licenses, maybe we will see a change of position soon.

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