Michigan Leaves Illegal Immigrants in Limbo

Monday, 03 Dec 2012 11:11 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Michigan is refusing to recognize some 7,000 to 12,000 undocumented immigrants as having a legal presence in the state, despite the fact they meet the requirements of President Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
 
According to the Detroit News, Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has banned the issuance of driver's licenses or state identification cards to undocumented immigrants, claiming  the president's order does not grant any kind of legal presence or status to young immigrants who were brought here illegally by their parents.
 
Johnson's spokeswoman, Gisgie Gendreau, told the News the secretary is apparently waiting for information or some declaration of legal status before allowing the immigrants to apply for driver's licenses.
 
"We rely on the federal government to tell us who is here legally; we don't determine that," Gendreau told the News.
 
Most states, however, have interpreted the president's order issued back in the summer as proof enough of legal presence, and they aren't waiting for any official declaration. Many have already moved to allow immigrants who can prove they have the necessary standing to apply for driver's licenses and other forms of ID that can help them pursue their educations or find work.
 
But Michigan appears to be standing with Arizona and Nebraska in challenging Obama's order.  All three have now banned the issuance of driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.
 
According to the News, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano has written to Gov. Rick Snyder asking him to issue an executive order overturning Johnson's directive. Ficano argues in his letter that Johnson has "erroneously" concluded that because the president's order does not specifically provide a legal status designation for the young immigrants they are still "unlawfully present" in the country. 


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