Iowa Department of Transportation has announced that it will not issue driver’s licenses to undocumented youth who are granted deferred action status. This decision is likely to affect more that 5,000 immigrants in Iowa. Similarly, the state officials said that they will not urge the transportation department to issue driver’s licenses to the undocumented immigrants who are permitted to work lawfully in the country. Most of the undocumented immigrants in Iowa are unhappy about this decision. Omar Del Jesus Mex Valle, who has filed his DACA application, is a native of Mexico and he got into the United States, when he was 15. He said that he was issued a driver’s license in October and he now feels that the officials might take back his driver’s license.
According to DOT’s announcement, undocumented youth who were brought to the United States at a very young age and who are eligible for deferred action, will not become eligible for driver’s licenses. President Obama, enforced the DACA program in June and this program will shelve the deportation of eligible undocumented youth and they will be granted permission to live and work in America for a 2 year period.
Paul Trombino III, Iowa DOT Director, said that the department of transportation will not grant state issued ID cards and driver’s licenses to the DACA recipients. He said that driver’s licenses and non-operator ID cards, will be issued to foreign nationals who are granted permission to be present in the country legally and he said that the state does not have the authority to grant ID cards and licenses to the undocumented immigrants who are granted deferred action status.
ACLU’s legal director of Iowa, Randall Wilson, said that the deferred action recipients must be granted driver’s licenses and state ID cards. Many immigration lawyers also say that the decision of DOT is wrong. According to Stateline, undocumented immigrants who receive deferred action are also eligible for driver’s licenses in 17 American states. States like Washington, New Mexico and Utah, issue driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and that is because the residents of these states are not required by the laws of these states to submit proofs of US citizenship or permanent residence to obtain licenses.