July 24, 2014

Iowa ACLU will try to overturn DOT’s ruling on licenses for illegals

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s decision to not issue driver’s licenses to aliens who came into the country illegally as kids is not sitting well with the Iowa ACLU. Ben Stone is the group’s executive director.

“The ACLU of Iowa and its allies are profoundly disappointed in the conclusion reached by the Iowa Department of Transportation, and we will vigorously pursue all legal options to change this result,” Stone told Radio Iowa. DOT director Paul Trombino said his department’s reading of Iowa law found they could not issue licenses or ID cards to those who are not in the country legally. Stone does not agree.

“We can make no sense of the reading that they have put forward. It makes no sense, it’s wrong and we will attempt to convince them otherwise. And we are optimistic that we will be able to do that,” Stone says. The issue gained attention in June when the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a memo saying it was up to the discretion of the states on how to handle the illegals given what’s called “deferred action” status by the U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Stone says the state is messing with the lives of those in the group. “I think what we are encountering here is a state agency that is basically bending over backwards to find something in which to justify it’s conclusion. And frankly it’s nonsensical,” according to Stone.

“These people are not going to be deported, they are authorized to be here by the federal government. All of this is just semantic shenanigans.” One estimate says there are some five-thousand people impacted. Stone says it is a public safety issue.

“It makes no sense to have people who are here who are not going to be removed by the federal government, who are permitted to work, who have been issued papers to that affect. And yet the state of Iowa doesn’t seem to think that there is any obligation to provide them with the ability to lawfully obtain a license,” Stone says.

“And that results in our roads being occupied by people that have not been properly licensed, and that is not in the interest of public safety.” Stone says they will seek all legal means to get the DOT to change its mind and if that is not successful, will seek other ways to change the decision.