I serve as the volunteer chairman for Iowa Justice For Our Neighbors, an immigration ministry of the United Methodist Church. I was disappointed to learn the Iowa Department of Transportation decided not to issue driver’s licenses or identification cards to young people granted the right to work under deferred action by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
The federal action gives them the right to be present. The DOT decision puts that group of people in a box that apparently can only be opened by them leaving Iowa. Iowa would be poorer in spirit, in reputation and economically if that happened.
DOT should grant licenses to immigrants who meet requirements for deferred action and pass the driver’s tests. There is no public safety reason for this decision. It does not promote the DOT’s published Vision and Mission. We urge the Legislature to take up this question if the DOT continues to refuse to act.
Iowa has a long history welcoming immigrants. We can’t deny that European, Southeast Asian, African, and, yes, Mexican and Central American immigrants, have enriched our communities. This decision sullies Iowa’s reputation as just and tolerant.
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