Nebraska ends ban on driver's licenses for immigrant youths

U.S. Immigration Reform Could Spell Relief for 5 Million Immigrants
U.S. Immigration Reform Could Spell Relief for 5 Million Immigrants

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.

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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