With a directive from President Barack Obama requiring deferred action in certain cases related to illegal immigration, Georgia and other states have been left in a quandary on what to do about driver’s licenses.
Under the president’s new policy that went into effect last week, under certain conditions some immigrants are no longer considered illegal. This directive applies to immigrants who arrived in the U.S. before they turned 16, are under 30 or younger, have lived in the U.S. for at least five years and are in school, have graduated or served in the military. A problem, however, arises with regard to driver's licenses. The new directive leaves them legally in the country, but not legally allowed to drive.
According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Georgia’s Republican Attorney General Sam Olens, has decided the best way around it is to issue temporary driver’s licenses in these cases. Olens is reported to have issued a statement saying that while he doesn’t agree with the president’s actions, Georgia would recognize someone with an approved deferred status as being eligible for a temporary license. He did, however, say this status would not make them eligible for a state identification card.
According to the AJC story, it’s not just the young illegal immigrants who qualify for deferred status. Federal immigration authorities can also grant this action to others at their discretion.
Gov. Jan Brewer, on the other hand, reportedly issued a directive in the state of Arizona instructing agencies not to issue driver's licenses or benefits to anyone under a deferred immigration status. She did this last week as soon as the directive went into effect.
So do you think Georgia has made the right decision to grant licenses or should it follow Arizona’s example? Tell us in comments.