Nebraska ends ban on driver's licenses for immigrant youths

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LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- Nebraska ended the nation's last ban on driving privileges for young people brought into the United States illegally as children, after the Legislature voted Thursday to override a veto from the state's new Republican governor.

Gov. Pete Ricketts & Gov. Dave Heineman, Nebraska
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Nebraska ends ban on driver's licenses for immigrant youths
Neb. Gov. Pete Ricketts gestures during a news conference in Lincoln, Neb., Wednesday, May 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts signs the first bills sent to him since he took office, in Lincoln, Neb., Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015,. Ricketts approved nine so-called cleanup bills that are introduced every year to repeal obsolete state laws, often for pilot programs and commissions that are no longer in effect. Those measures were among the first passed by lawmakers this year. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Omaha businessman Pete Ricketts greets state senators before being sworn into office as Nebraska's 40th governor at a ceremony in the Capitol's legislative chamber, in Lincoln, Neb., Thursday, Jan. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
In this Dec. 17, 2014 photo, Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman speaks during an interview in Lincoln, Neb. Heineman will leave office next month after a full decade in office marked by repeated tax cuts, an expansion of business incentives and increased funding for higher education. But Nebraska’s longest-serving governor may also be remembered for scandals in the state prison system, high-profile problems with social services and the resignation of two lieutenant governors. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman testifies before a legislative committee that is investigating the state's prison problems, Wednesday, Oct. 29, 2014, in Lincoln, Neb., (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
HAVANA, CUBA: Dave Heineman, governor of the US state of Nebraska, speaks 26 March, 2007 upon his arrival at the Jose Marti international airport in Havana. Heineman, who visits Cuba for the rhird time, leads a group of US businessmen who aim to sign contracts for the sale of agrarian products to Cuba similar to those signed in 2005 and 2006 with Cuban state-managed company Alimport. AFP PHOTO/ADALBERTO ROQUE (Photo credit should read ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)

Senators in the one-house Legislature voted 34-10 to override Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has backed the strict policy of his GOP predecessor to deny the licenses.

President Barack Obama announced an executive action in 2012 that creates the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which gives the youths a Social Security number, a two-year work permit and protection from deportation. Although a few states initially announced that they would deny licenses to those youth, only Arizona and Nebraska ultimately adopted policies to exclude them.

A court blocked Arizona's law in July, leaving in place only Nebraska's, which former Gov. Dave Heineman approved three years ago. The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska also is challenging the policy in court.

Ricketts has said that those who arrived in the country illegally shouldn't receive privileges intended for legal residents and said the bill would expand privileges to individuals beyond the youth covered under the program. But senators who supported the bill argued the youth are active contributors to the state's economy and should not be penalized for their parents' actions.

Individuals under the executive action must be at least 15 years old, have arrived in the U.S. before their 16th birthday, were under 31 in 2012, have lived continuously in the U.S. since 2007 and are in school or working toward a degree.

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