The Georgia Legislature is trying to take away driver’s licenses for people granted deferred action.
Presumably, this is in response to the President’s Executive Action creating an Expanded DACA and a new DAPA program.
Senate Bill (SB) 6, if passed, would make it impossible for immigrants with deferred action to obtain or renew a Georgia driver’s license.
This is a horrible idea. What do the proponents of SB 6 have against childhood arrivals or parents of U.S. citizens?
Even if the bill is targeted at these two populations, the impact will go far beyond. Deferred action is granted victims of violent crimes, victims of domestic violence, victims of human trafficking. It’s also for the sick or the caregivers of the terminally ill.
If SB 6 passes, all of these people will be left without a license in a state and city where public transportation leaves much to be desired. The ability to work, to care for children, and to go to the hospital will all be greatly reduced. There are no winners here – only losers.
Will SB 6 pass? It may, but I doubt that Governor Deal would sign it into law.
First, when DACA was created in 2012, the Georgia Attorney General issued a policy memo stating that deferred action was considered lawful status for the purposes of obtaining a driver’s license.
Second, if it was enacted, Georgia would be the first and only state to remove a legal right for people granted legal status by the Department of Homeland Security. I think the publicity nightmare would be a sufficient deterrent.
Finally, SB 6 seeks to redefine what legal and lawful immigration status is. Georgia does not have the legal authority to do this. Immigration law is federal, and as such only Congress can define these terms. If SB 6 were to be signed into law, the legal challenges would come fast – and it would be costly and an embarrassment to the state.
Oh – and should you think that this only impacts people with deferred action – think again. The bill is vague and says that any non-citizen (so lawful permanent residents, international students, and professors, or anyone DDS thinks isn’t a U.S. citizen) can be forced to submit biological proof of their identity: from fingerprints to retinal scans even DNA.
Anyone who isn’t a U.S. citizen should be wary of this bill and reach out to their state representatives to voice their concern about this bill.
Please use the link below to find your senator, and contact him or her today!