Michigan Status Report: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals

earthsky_fContributed by Rachael Moreno -MI ALMA Trustees

The use of government agencies for political grandstanding is not new.  The blatant refusal by Michigan’s Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to recognize the rights of young people who have been granted a reprieve from deportation established a new low. At the federal level, DACA had provided a two-year window for securing licenses.

Put simply, the truth is that by denying “Dreamers” the privilege to secure a driver’s license in Michigan, Johnson gave the state the same label as regressive states like Nebraska and Arizona. That action added to the hundreds of thousands of young immigrants across the nation prevented from securing a license to Get Alerts »A spate of three recent teen suicides is shaking Newton to its core, and making residents ask a lot of questions about what would cause high best-driving-school.com students to take their own lives. drive on the nation’s roads.  Without a license, the same Dreamers could not drive to work, school, medical appointments or family obligations.

We did not see any movement on this issue until the American Civil Liberties Union joined the NationalImmigrationLawCenter in a lawsuit on behalf of the Dreamers. Lawyers for those groups indicated that Michigan did not seem to have the same “hardline” motivation that exists in Arizona and Nebraska, but rather Michigan’s action was caused by “confusion” and misinterpretation of the law.

Whether the denial to Michigan’s Dream was based on confusion or political dogma, we applaud Secretary Johnson for finally taking a positive stance on the issue.  One may assume that although Dreamers can now apply for a Michigan license, many may fear making the official request. Why? Because:

  1. Providing your personal information to one state agency may jeopardize your status with other agencies.
  2. Exposing yourself may expose your entire family to scrutiny by federal and state agencies.
  3. Any special marking or uniqueness of the issued document may subject the holder to discrimination or unequal treatment.

Currently, the Secretary of State will issue licenses to Dreamers in Michigan. The reprieve extends for a two year period. The situation in Michigan requires watching carefully.