91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

The state of Michigan will grant drivers' licenses to the children of undocumented immigrants

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Thousands of children of undocumented immigrants in Michigan are now eligible for a driver’s license or official state ID.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson today reversed a policy that denied them licenses despite their status as legal residents.

The American Civil Liberties Union went to court to demand a change in Michigan’s policy.   The state was one of just a handful that said undocumented immigrants’ children who were not born in the U-S could not get a license. These are people who were brought to the U-S when they were 16 years old or younger by adults who were not legal. They range in age from 15 to 31.

Last year, U-S immigration policy was changed to allow this group temporary legal residency. And this was supposed to allow these young people to lead normal lives, go to school, get a job.

Johnson says a review of new federal guidelines posted in convinced her to change the policy. The temporary licenses will expire after two years.

“Today’s announcement is a tremendous victory for the thousands of young people who may not have been born here, however have only known this country to be home,” says Miriam Aukerman, staff attorney with the ACLU of Michigan,  They have the same dreams as other young Americans -- contribute to their communities and make a difference in the world.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
Related Content