Deferred Action: Lawsuit Filed Against Michigan for Denial of Licenses

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit today against Michigan Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson over the denial of driver’s licenses from Deferred Action. Even though recipients can be granted a work authorization and will be able to get a reprieve from deportation, those who are of driving age will still have difficulties getting around in Michigan.

The way the Deferred Action program has been set up, undocumented youth who receive approval should be able to apply for driver’s licenses. But according to the office of the Ruth Johnson, even if they wanted to grant driver’s licenses, they couldn’t, for Michigan law says that a person must have legal presence in order to be eligible for a driver’s license. Since Deferred Action does not grant legal status, Johnson says the Michigan DMV cannot be authorized to grant the document.

The suit has been filed on the behalf of three undocumented young people and a youth immigrant group called One Michigan. A similar suit was filed against Arizona in November. They are not allowing Deferred Action recipients to get driver’s licenses.  Nebraska isn’t either, but no suit has been filed against that state.

As of December 13, 102,965 people have been approved for Deferred Action nationwide. California and Florida have officially confirmed that they will be granting driver’s licenses in their states. Nevada is set to also approve of it.