Skip to main content

Allowed to Work in the United States, but Not Allowed to be Physically Present in the United States - What?

by Rebecca Rojas, Associate Attorney

Today, the Detroit News reported that Michigan has joined the two states — Nebraska and Arizona — that have banned the issuance of driver's licenses to undocumented young people who qualify for Obama’s deferred action program (also known as the DACA program).  By way of background, the DACA program gives immigrant youth who were brought here as children and who have grown up in the United States, a two-year employment authorization card.  This card permits the holder to work anywhere in the United States.

The apparent rational behind Michigan’s decision to deny driver’s license to these young people is that they are “unlawfully present” in the United States.  The article notes Michigan’s Secretary of State “apparently reached this decision, notwithstanding federal authority stating that although a DACA designation may not confer legal status on that individual, the person is nonetheless, 'legally present’ within the United States.”

In fact, the issue of whether someone could be permitted to work in the United States, but yet not be entitled to be in the United States was reviewed by a federal court in 2008. This court found that the argument that someone be permitted to be employed in the United States, yet not be allowed to be physically present in the United States was “untenable” and “bewildering.”

It is difficult to see how Michigan’s position could be anything but untenable and bewildering.  

First, these young people have federally issued work cards for employment in the United States.  

Second, granting them licenses would allow Michigan to regulate them and to ensure that they have the appropriate insurance and registration.  

Third, it would allow Michigan to collect additional driver’s license fees and taxes.  

Fourth, granting license would enhance Michigan’s knowledge about who is living and working in its community, which would increase security.

In short, it appears that the decision to deny license to these young people is nothing more than a mean-spirited attempt to discriminate against them.  Like most discrimination, it has no rational basis.

You can read the entire Detroit News article HERE.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

If You Are An Immigrant (even a US Citizen), Here Are 9 Things You Should Know

Are you a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, or an Undocumented Immigrant? We recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself in our current version of America.
The last couple of weeks have reminded immigrants, even naturalized U.S. citizens, that they were not born in the United States. Our office has received countless phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people worrying about what their family’s future in the United States holds.
Most people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves from what promises to be a wave of anti-immigration activity by the federal government. Trump's Executive Order on Interior Enforcement has some provisions that should make most Americans shiver.  We recommend the following actions for each of the following groups:
Naturalized U.S. citizens. In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any US Border (including the oceans), we strongly rec…

Why is USCIS Taking So Long to Renew DACA Work Permits?

If the calls to our office are any indicator, there are thousands of DACA recipients whose work permit applications were filed at least three months prior to expiration, who are still waiting for their renewed work permits.  Without renewed permits, these individuals lose the right to work legally, the right to drive, and may once again accrue unlawful presence.

The DHS published a notice in October 2014 advising DACA recipients that they could file their request for extension up to 150 days (5 months) prior to expiration.  As with all things government, very few of the DACA recipients, who tend not to frequent government websites, knew about the memo and many did not file so far before expiration perhaps thinking that extending a work permit was a like extending a drivers license, its is done in a few minutes.  As an experienced immigration lawyer will tell you, the USCIS does nothing quickly, and certainly does not worry that a person may lose their job or their driver's licens…
Si usted es inmigrante (incluso un ciudadano de los EE.UU.), aquí hay 9 cosas que usted debe saber.

¿Es usted un ciudadano estadounidense naturalizado, residente legal permanente, titular de una visa o inmigrante indocumentado? Le recomendamos que tome los siguientes pasos para protegerse de nuestra versión actual de América.
Las últimas semanas hemos recordado a los inmigrantes, incluso a los ciudadanos estadounidenses naturalizados, que no nacieron en los Estados Unidos. Nuestra oficina ha recibido innumerables llamadas telefónicas, mensajes de correo electrónico y mensajes de medios sociales de personas preocupadas por el futuro de su familia en los Estados Unidos.
La mayoría de gente quiere saber qué puede hacer ahora para protegerse de lo que promete ser una ola de actividad anti-inmigración por parte del gobierno federal. La orden ejecutiva de Trump sobre la aplicación de la ley interior tiene algunas disposiciones que deberían hacer temblar a la mayoría de los estadounidenses. …