Iowa will not issue driver’s licenses to young immigrants who entered the country illegally but are now are eligible to work in the U.S. under a federal program, state officials announced Thursday.
President Obama announced a policy change in June that lets some illegal immigrants apply for temporary work permits if they were brought to the country as children. The “deferred action” program lets them seek a renewable, two-year reprieve from deportation if they meet specific age, residency and education requirements.
But the Iowa Department of Transportation said state law does not allow it to issue driver’s licenses or identification cards to people who are in the country illegally. State lawyers concluded that the federal program does not extend lawful status to the immigrants and does not offer them a pathway to citizenship, said Iowa DOT Director Paul Trombino III.
Iowa is a state with many Hispanic immigrants. They work the slaughterhouses, dairies and egg production facilities.
I don’t think I am comfortable with the limbo. If they are going to be allowed to stay, they should be able to drive. If we know who they are and won’t let them drive, then why are we letting them stay? Of course the impasse is that Iowa won’t let them drive but doesn’t have the authority to deport them. The federal government allows them to stay but can’t issue driver’s licences. What a mess.