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October 23, 2014

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Dream Act immigrants eligible for Nevada driver’s licenses

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Sam Morris

State Sen. Ruben Kihuen hugs Astrid Silva while they gather to listen to President Obama’s announcement of new immigration reforms Friday, June 15, 2012, at the offices of the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada.

Immigrants brought to the country illegally as children and granted a temporary reprieve by President Barack Obama this summer will be eligible for Nevada driver's licenses and state IDs, state officials told the Sun this week.

And Gov. Brian Sandoval supports the policy, he said in a statement.

That brought a sigh of relief from immigration advocates.

But at least one Republican lawmaker said the Nevada Legislature should weigh in on the question when it meets in early 2013.

By some estimates, Nevada is home to 20,000 young immigrants brought to the country illegally as children who qualify for the “deferred action for childhood arrivals” — a program informally known as Dream Act-lite after the broader legislation that has failed to pass Congress.

“These individuals will not be treated any differently under Nevada law than any other noncitizen applying for an identification card or driver’s license,” said Kevin Malone, a spokesman for the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles.

Whether to issue driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants is a traditionally controversial political hot button. But for the so-called Dreamers, it’s a potentially life-changing issue.

Astrid Silva, an immigration advocate who was brought to Nevada illegally by her parents when she was 3 years old, said she and other undocumented immigrants have had to rely on friends, family and public transportation to get around Las Vegas — or risk it and drive illegally.

Silva, 24, applied for deferred action earlier this month.

“I’ll be learning to drive soon,” she said. “It’s a huge deal.”

Other states, such as Arizona and Nebraska, have maintained they will continue to deny illegal immigrants driver’s licenses, even those who qualify for deferred action.

But Nevada officials said the state will honor the “employment authorization card,” Malone said. That’s a photo ID issued by the Department of Homeland Security to the deferred action applicants, according to immigration attorneys.

Those cards had been issued to other noncitizens in the country legally and have been accepted by the DMV since at least 1999, Malone said.

In a statement, Sandoval said he had no intention of changing that policy.

“As long as all of the DMV procedures are followed and other forms of identification are valid, I support this policy,” he said.

Immigration experts had been unsure whether the Nevada DMV would accept the employment authorization cards issued to those who received deferred action.

“There is not a clear rule on it, and it could vary from office to office,” said Angela Morrison, a visiting assistant professor at UNLV who had served as the legal director of the Nevada Immigrant Resource Project at the Boyd School of Law.

But not everyone believes issuing driver’s licenses to Dreamers is a good idea.

Driver’s licenses can be used for a wide range of purposes, including registering to vote, said Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden.

“If any individual doesn’t have full status, to me, they shouldn’t have a full driver's license,” Settelmeyer said. “A lot of facets need to be discussed at the Legislature. I, myself, do not prefer to see an agency head make a decision that has such large repercussions.”

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  1. By all means, let's make the USA even more attractive for the Rio Grande waders to come here clandestinely or illegals to come from anywhere else. They already get food stamps, welfare, free health care, Social Security, vote illegally and a pass from a non-caring federal government. So, what's the big deal about providing them with a little thing like driving priviledges? Hand me a barf bag, please!

  2. boof boof boof BOOF! BOOF! BOOF BOOF BOOF!

    Sorry, Las Vegas Sun, but I couldn't resist. The above is the sound of ultra-conservative commenters' heads exploding in unison at this revelation.

    The GOP absolutely will NOT let go of any and all instances where they can lash out at illegal immigrants. Because in their world, it's a lot easier to do that. Than it is to try to actually try to address the problem. And far be it from a GOoPer to fix anything. No, no, no. Can't have that. There must be this mad scramble to grab monkey wrenches and throw them in the gears as fast, furious and savagely as possible.

    Here's a simple fact for my ultra-righty friends.

    President Obama, and his entire administration, due to his win in this past election, now definitively has a mandate.

    The reason why without any doubts, none at all, he has a mandate is that the Latino American vote, not only in Nevada, but nationwide, went for him. By a very wide majority.

    Because he has produced.

    Get used to it, righties. There will be a new DREAM Act on the table. And Tea/Republicans all over this great nation know it's going to happen. But still they will fight it tooth and nail.

    I actually think their efforts, whether they fail or succeed in blocking any DREAM Act legislation, will signal their total and complete plummet to assured downfall.

    Whichever way they go will spell doom. Because an entire race of American voters will NEVER EVER vote for any of them EVER.

    So, keep on demonizing and dehumanizing Latino Americans, GOoPers. Go full out Sharron Angle and denigrate an entire race of people. All in order to appeal to a shrinking base of supporters.

    This is going to ensure the Tea/Republican Party goes the route of velociraptors. We're talking serious extinction.

    The long and short of it is that the message stinks. Especially when it comes to this issue.

  3. And they say the GOP are racists. Here is a clear example of the Dems being racist.

    If you are white or black, you have to follow the law. if you are Latino, you can break them and get rewarded...

    We need a score card to show what laws what race can brake and what laws what race has to follow.

    Plus when each get bonus points and free stuff from Santa Obama

  4. Out with the old, in with the new" the DREAM Act" replacing American middle class with workers willing to work for less money with their extended family living crowded together just like in Mexico except that here, there is always a job and free free free benefits, Viva la Mexico.

    That moan being heard now is the sound of America dying. What else could one expect from being led by Mr Obama who can't produce his own documents of how or who paid for his collage or if he also lied claiming foreign alien status receiving free or lower tuition cost than other Americans? And if you don't like the Dream Act.. . remember King Obama's (kill list) decree that Americans can be killed just because King Obama says so?

    Surprise Gov Sandoval supports the Dream Act just like Brian's mentor Harry Reid. Oh my look how the big government party is taking care of Corporate America CEO's addiction for low paid unskilled workers and the U.S. government might have a few empty houses for ya with more empty houses coming soon".

    To all of the bo bo's that voted for President Obama , Thanks, now hurry up and get all your family up here rapido" cause this dream is just too good to be true.

  5. I think I just heard a few heads exploding from our fellow bigots always spewing their bigotry on this site.

    Bigotry gets you no where.

  6. America U.S. Constitutional Republic 1776-2012 RIP

    America U.S. Democrazy (mob rule) 2012-Armageddon

  7. Comment removed by moderator. Inappropriate

  8. Congratulations to all of these kids that have never done anything wrong . They are victims of their own parents crime and therefore deserve no punishment . There is no reason to punish them in any way yet so many seek only to destroy them because of their hatred which is apparent in their commentary. The state of Nevada [spanish ] and city of Las Vegas [spanish]was Mexico Del Norte long before Bam1969 and his family invaded the Nevada territory

  9. This will likely result in those not here legally and not citizens to vote and that is wrong.

  10. PaulRupp says - 'in with the new" the DREAM Act" replacing American middle class with workers willing to work for less money'

    If you can be easily replaced at your place of work by an immigrant with little to no education, the immigrants are not the problem, YOU are the problem. You have squandered the opportunities America offers, and you don't deserve a middle class lifestyle.

    Stop blaming immigrants, take some personal responsibility, and better your life!

  11. Why is it that any American who disagrees with our government policies of giving everything away i.e., jobs (NAFTA- CCRFTA- CAFTA-Cheap China Junk), Foreign Aid ($), the keys to our country (immigration), Religious rights, including our personnel liberty (TSA-Patriot Act) is labeled radical racist or bigot?

    Happily, I personally find it more desirable to be a bigot than agree with policies that continue to destroy Americas middle class and small business.

  12. "I have no problem with immigrants as long as they follow the same rules and guidelines as everyone else who attained citizenship legally."

    PaulRupp & ilk -- all of us of non-native, European ancestry are here without the permission of this continent's prior inhabitants. Maybe you should each look up "hypocrite" then take a drive about 50 miles north on I-15 and ask the Moapas how they feel about our ancestors who took this land away from theirs.

    "Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" -- inscribed on a plaque in the museum in the base of the Statue of Liberty

  13. These young people, who are trying their best to comply with USA law (unlike their parents), should be given provisionary licenses until they gain full citizenship so that they CANNOT VOTE until they are official USA citizens. That is only fair. Furthermore, society benefits, because these Dream Act youth will get insurance, and be following the law.

    There is no doubt that our country's immigration policies need fixing, streamlining, and ENforcement.

    Blessings and Peace,
    Star

  14. @ KillerB-VegasEngineer, it would be helpful to know who you guys really are as vegasEngineer could be anyone from a governmental structural engineer to a locomotive engineer to a guy like the owner of M Resorts...

    vegasEngineer-So the millions of Americans unemployed or underemployed" the underlying reason and fault is because people failed to better themselves in a rigged system where American manufacturing and jobs have evaporated? Again it would be most helpful to know who vegasEngineer is and or represents before any further comments/responses.

    KillerB- Should the U.S. give California back to Mexico/indigenous Indians, also?

    "I am happily married(1999) to a Mexican lady who overstayed her visa"was required to leave and stay out of the U.S. for 1 year (2000-2001). Our family paid the price, if anyone walked the walk and not just talked the talk perhaps they also would have more than a sour taste swallowing an unlawful policy that now rewards others, contrary to what our family and the hardship's we endured when we approached the U.S. government in goodfaith to lawfully change our family's immigration's status".- PaulRupp

    "True morality consists not in following the beaten track, but in finding out the true path for ourselves and in fearlessly following it". - M Gandhi (1869-1948)

  15. UNCONSTITUTIONAL for any State to license illegals--only Congress can do that.