Illegal Licenses in Iowa - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Illegal Licenses in Iowa

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Remember being 16? Getting a license? Hitting the open road?

For many, this is no big deal, a part of growing up. 

But, in June of this year, U.S. Homeland Security created a law for children of illegal immigrants call deferred action - making it difficult for some to get behind the wheel. 

Deferred action means any children of illegal immigrants that came to the United States before turning 16, can stay as long as they are in school or studying to attain a degree.

They are even eligible for work visas if the person is old enough to work in their respective state. 

Now, the Iowa Department of Transportation is involved, coming out today saying those under the deferred action umbrella will not be eligible for driver's licenses or state identification. 

The reason? Iowa code says that deferred - doesn't mean legal. 

Now, one Quad City organization is being an advocate for the nearly 75,000 illegal immigrants Iowa, asking: If they can study and work here, why can't they drive to get where they need to go.?

Casa Guanajuato is an immigrant advocacy group based in the Quad Cities. It helps immigrants, both documented and not, find jobs and be a functioning member of society. 

But now, after the statement from the Iowa DOT, the ability to do that may not be possible for immigrants living under the deferred action title. 

"They are driving already," says Casa Guanajuato Director, Michael Woods, "so why not give them a license to help protect the greater society?"

And, Woods says, if immigrants are granted licenses and ID's, it may help everyone in the long run.

"We believe that having a driver's license is actually a positive for all of society because all of the sudden, insurance rates will go down and we know who everyone is while out on the roads."

And above al, Woods says its about fairness for kids, many who were too young to choose to come to the United States - legally or otherwise. 

"Many of these kids came here before the age of 16. Many were 8,9,6,5 years old. Mexico is not their country, the United States is.... They were educated in this country, they take pride in this county and many of them didn't know they were undocumented."