Iowa DOT: No Licenses For Illegal Immigrants

By James Q. Lynch, Reporter

Sample Iowa driver's licenses. (Gazette file photo)

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By Richard Pratt

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – After a review of Iowa law, the Iowa Department of Transportation will cease issuing driver’s licenses to young illegal immigrants eligible to work in this country under an Obama administration deferred prosecution policy.

The department has issued at least one driver’s license and one non-operator’s ID since President Obama announced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Obama changed federal policy in June to let certain illegal immigrants apply for a temporary work permit if they were brought to the country as children.

However, after reviewing the memorandum issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the deferred prosecution of illegal immigrants as it relates to Iowa law, the DOT concluded it did not have authority to issue those documents, DOT Director Paul Trombino III said this morning.

Trombino explained that a memorandum issued by the does not change driver’s license procedures.

“That’s a state issue, and from policy standpoint, we administer the policy made in the (Iowa) Capitol,” he said.

The DOT announcement was in response to a letter from the ACLU-Iowa asking the department to issues documents to young illegal immigrants who received deferred status under the Obama policy.

The department will formally respond to ACLU-Iowa later today, Trombino said.

The DOT policy does not affect foreign nationals who are authorized to work in this country, Trombino said.

“In this case, as we reviewed Iowa Code, we determined that deferred status doesn’t give illegal immigrants legal status,” he said. “It’s just deferring any action.”

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