American Civil Liberties Union sues over driver’s licenses

Michigan’s American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who has refused to allow youths who apply for deferred action the right to get a driver’s license. Johnson has ruled that undocumented youngsters who came to the United States as children illegally do not have the legal right to apply for a driver’s license even if they have been given legal presence in the country.

June saw the implementation of a new America immigration policy that allows law abiding young people between the ages of 18 and 30 to be able to gain work permits, defer deportation and get Social Security numbers that are valid for two years. Plaintiffs in the lawsuit, such as 20-year-old Leen Nour El-Zayat and 17-year-old Javier Contreras, argue that being denied a driver’s license increases the level of difficulty they encounter when attempting to find work.

“We’re talking about the American Dream, about young people who might not have been born in the US but who grew up here,” says the staff attorney for Michigan’s American Civil Liberties Union, Miriam Aukerman. “These youth deserve to pursue the same dreams as anyone else. Unfortunately for these youth, those dreams are still on hold.”

The news of the lawsuit came just one day prior to International Migrants Day, which is meant to be a reflection on the human rights of migrant communities and immigrants, though the ACLU notes that there is still much to accomplish to eliminate hostile attitudes towards minorities.