Many states and localities are considering and enacting laws and policies that welcome undocumented individuals and enhance their ability to live, work, and participate as contributing members of society.
By Jen Riddle
CLINIC is happy to announce an important new resource for affiliates concerned about the ways in which state and local governments may be participating in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. There are a number of programs through which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and other federal agencies recruit state and local law enforcement officials to help conduct immigration enforcement.
Currently, seven states and the District of Columbia grant driver’s licenses to residents who cannot prove lawful presence in the United States. Four additional states have passed legislation to that effect and will begin granting licenses to undocumented residents within the next year. However, only two of these states offer undocumented residents the standard driver’s license available to individuals lawfully present in the country.
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It is estimated that 65,000 undocumented students graduate from high school in the United States every year. These graduates face various financial barriers to pursuing a college education, including the fact that a social security number is required to qualify for federal financial aid. Since the Obama administration announced its Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in 2012, over 520,000 youth have been granted permission to work and, as a result, the right to obtain a social security number.
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Driver’s licenses play a critical role in American society and enable us to participate more fully and productively in our communities. Most of us rely on cars to get ourselves and our families to work, school, the hospital, the grocery store, and church. In addition to facilitating transportation, driver’s licenses enhance public safety by ensuring that all drivers are trained, tested, and qualify for automobile insurance.
As members of Congress prepare to return to Washington, D.C. from the summer recess, the future of U.S.
House Bill (HB) No. 50, introduced by State Representative David Howard, prohibits local government from enacting, adopting, implementing, enforcing, or referring to the electorate immigration sanctuary policies. It also allows state agencies to withhold funds to local governments that do not comply with the provisions of the bill. Additionally, a person domiciled in Montana can seek a writ of mandamus to compel compliance with the bill.