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 Governor Sandoval says he supports the policy and has no intention of changing it.
“As long as all of the DMV procedures are followed and other forms of identification are valid, I support this policy,” he said.
But at least one Republican lawmaker said the Nevada Legislature should weigh in on the question when it meets in early 2013.
“If any individual doesn’t have full status, to me, they shouldn’t have a full driver’s license,” state Senator James Settelmeyer of Minden 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.”
Immigration experts had been unsure whether the Nevada DMV would accept the employment authorization cards issued to those who received deferred action.
“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.
Other states, such as Arizona and Nebraska, have maintained they will continue to deny illegal immigrant’s driver’s licenses, even those who qualify for deferred action. But Nevada officials said the state will honor the employment authorization card, which is a photo ID issued by the Department of Homeland Security to the deferred action applicants and other non-citizens in the country legally and have been accepted by the DMV since at least 1999.
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.