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VICTORY! Wyoming Lets the DREAMers Drive

Michael Tan,
Deputy Director,
ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project
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April 8, 2013

This week, Wyoming confirmed that it will now provide driver’s licenses to young immigrants who came to the country as children, popularly known as “DREAMers.” The decision is the latest victory for immigrant youth granted permission to live and work in the country under the federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program.

Wyoming thus joins the chorus of states that have decided to let the DREAMers drive. Generally, states limit driver’s licenses to immigrants who can show they are “authorized” or “legally present” in the United States. Consistent with guidance from the federal government, the overwhelming majority of states have rightly acknowledged that immigrants granted DACA are legally authorized to be in the country, and thus eligible to drive.

Only two outliers have taken the opposite tack: Nebraska and Arizona, whose driver’s license ban we have challenged in court. It is high time for both of these states to get with the DACA program. There is simply no reason to deny licenses to immigrants whom the federal government has permitted to live and work in the country. At a time when the nation is calling for solutions to our broken immigration system, states should be pursuing polices that help immigrants go about their daily lives and give back to the community—not policies that target immigrants for exclusion and take us all backwards.

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