President Barack Obama announced back in June a measure called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Via executive order he started a two-year work permit program for young illegal immigrants who were brought into the United States illegally by their parents.
This is an abuse of executive power. The Department of Homeland Security because of this action has said that states can determine whether or not to issue licenses, state IDS, among other benefits, to these young illegal immigrants who qualify for deferred status.
The Des Moines Register published a story written by William Petroski about the Iowa Chapter of American Civil Liberties Union sending a letter to the Iowa Department of Transportation asking whether they would issue state IDs and drivers licenses for those who qualify for deferred status.
In a nutshell they said no.
“The Iowa DOT understands the exercising of this prosecutorial discretion by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security does not grant lawful status or a lawful immigration path to persons granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival status,” DOT officials said in a statement. “Rather, it is prosecutorial discretion extended in a blanket fashion to persons who are not lawfully authorized to be present in the United States.”
DOT officials said that Iowa law says that a driver’s license or nonoperator ID card shall only be issued to a foreign national authorized to be present in the United States. Therefore, the Iowa DOT does not have the legal authority under current Iowa law to issue a driver’s license or nonoperator ID card to a person granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status, officials said.
An executive order by President Obama doesn’t trump state law. Unless the Iowa Code is rewritten the Iowa DOT can not even consider this.
I understand the rationale, and I certainly can see the arguments for such a move. I believe most people understand children of illegal immigrants are here by no fault of their own. So let’s have the conversation, but this is something Congress needs to decide at the Federal level and State Legislatures need to decide concerning policies and procedures, like licenses, that are left to the states.