January 18, 2013

Executive Director Alessandra Soler, 602-650-1854 (office) or 602-301-3705 (cell) or

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued guidance today clarifying that young immigrants qualifying for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are authorized to stay in the country. The FAQs, issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (CIS), clarify that states should allow young immigrants brought to the country as children – commonly known as DREAMers – to get driver’s licenses.

“The federal guidance issued today sends a clear message to the states – these young immigrants are permitted to stay in the country,” said Michael Tan, staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project. “Allowing our nation’s hard-working immigrant youth to get driver’s licenses is not only required by law, but enables them to drive to school and work so they can continue reaching for their goals, which benefits all of our communities.”

The DACA program was announced in June. Since then, a fraction of states —  Arizona, Michigan, Nebraska and, most recently, Iowa —  have decided not to issue licenses to these individuals even though the federal government has authorized them to stay in the country for a renewable period of two years and apply for a work permit.  The ACLU and its partners have filed lawsuits in Arizona and Michigan.

Click here to read the FAQs. 

Click here to learn more about the Arizona case.