Michigan ACLU Filed Lawsuit for Rights to Driver’s License

The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a lawsuit against Ruth Johnson, the Secretary of State, who has denied youth applying for Deferred Action the right to a driver’s license. Johnson ruled undocumented youth who came to the country illegally as children are unauthorized to apply for a driver’s license, even those who have been granted legal presence.

A new immigration policy was implemented in June, which allows law abiding youth between 18 and 30 years old to defer deportation, gain work permits and Social Security numbers valid for two years. However, plaintiffs in the case – such as Javier Contreras, 17, and Leen Nour El-Zayat, 20 – explained that not having a license makes it very challenging for them to get to work.

“We’re talking about the American Dream, about young people who might not have been born in the U.S. but who grew up here,” Miriam Aukerman, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan in a news conference in the group’s Midtown office. “These youth deserve to pursue the same dreams as anyone else. Unfortunately for these youth, those dreams are still on hold.”

After the ruling, the ACLU of Michigan and several other civil rights groups contacted Johnson’s office to ask her to change the course of her actions.

This news comes one day before International Migrants Day, which is intended to reflect on the human rights of immigrants and migrant communities. Although the United States has made many strides to bettering policies, the ACLU explained that there is still more to accomplish to fully eliminate any hostile attitudes toward racial and ethnic minorities. These vulnerable members of society are often impacted by negative perceptions and anti-immigrant laws.