Law
9:12 pm
Fri October 26, 2012

More protests at Secretary of State related to "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program

Students line the outside of a Secretary of State's office in Kalamazoo Friday.
Credit Wendy Medrano / Michigan Organizing Project

More people are protesting against a decision to deny Michigan driver's licenses to immigrants granted work permits under a new federal deferred-action program.

President Obama announced the "Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals" program in June. It provides work permits and Social Security cards to young people brought to the United States without legal permission.

But Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will not issue those in the program driver’s licenses because she says they don’t have legal status.

Western Michigan University student Wendy Medrano helped organize a student protest of the policy in Kalamazoo Friday. “It doesn’t make any sense,” Medrano said of Johnson’s decision. “So you can get a working permit. You can get a social security but hey you’re still not lawfully present here?”

Medrano says not having a drivers license will limit where people can live, work and go to school.

Arizona officials also have made a similar decision about licenses.

Allison Colberg is with the Michigan Organizing Project, the group that arranged the in Kalamazoo.

“If they have been given permission to stay they’re going to school, they’re working, they’re doing all the things that we want good Americans to do,” Colberg said “They want to be part of the American dream.”

The group is collecting signatures to petition Johnson to change her mind about the licenses.

About 300 people took part in similar protests earlier this week in Wyoming, Michigan.