Iowa pressed for position on driver's licenses for DREAMers

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The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa is calling on Iowa Department of Transportation director Paul Trombino to indicate whether young people granted “deferred action” status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be eligible for Iowa driver’s licenses and IDs.

In June, President Barack Obama announced that young adults who came to the United States as children and are currently in the United States without authority – known as 'DREAMers' after the proposed Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act – will be granted “deferred action” status if they meet certain conditions.

Those conditions include that they:

• Were not above the age of 30 on June 15, 2012.

• Came to the United States under the age of 16.

• Continuously resided in the United States for at least five years before June 15, 2012, and were physically present in the United States on June 15, 2012.

• Are currently in school, have graduated from high school, have obtained a general education development certificate or are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or Coast Guard and were honorably discharged.

• Have not been convicted of a felony offense, significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses, and not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.

The ACLU of Iowa is asking the state to clarify where it stands on the policy in regards to issuing identification and licenses.

ACLU of Iowa attorney Rita Bettis said, "The young Iowa residents considering whether to apply for 'deferred action' deserve to know whether the Iowa DOT considers them eligible for drivers licenses and non-operator IDs before they begin the process, especially since being able to drive is often necessary to maintaining employment."

She added, "We have looked at the law, and we believe that those with approved 'deferred action' status are eligible, but we want the director to confirm our understanding in writing so everyone considering applying for ‘deferred action’ will know what to expect."