The Iowa Department of Transportation decided yesterday that it will not grant driver’s licenses to Deferred Action recipients. This decision could affect 5,000 undocumented immigrants in Iowa.
The undocumented people eligible for Deferred Action are young and came to this country through no fault of their own. The Obama Administration has said that they don’t want to punish young people for the decision of their parents to bring them into the country without authorization.
The Deferred Action program was announced in June 2012 and went into effect in August 2012. It does not grant undocumented youth legal status, but it does give them a two-year permit to live and work in the U.S. A driver’s license can also be granted if the state agrees to issue them.
About 1.7 million people are estimated to be eligible for the program. There are a total of 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
Iowa law states that a driver’s license or state ID can be issued only to people who are authorized to be in U.S. The director of the Iowa DOT, Paul Trombino III, said the decision to not grant driver’s licenses is based on that aspect of Iowa law.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed lawsuits against Michigan and Arizona. Both states are denying driver’s licenses to Deferred Action recipients.