MICHIGAN — Immigrant advocate groups and people across the state are calling on Secretary of State, Ruth Johnson to comply with a federal mandate and grant young eligible immigrants the right to drive. In a telephone news conference on Wednesday, Reverend Jack Eggleston joined two young immigrants to demand that Johnson follow the mandate.
Michigan immigrants eligible for work permits under immigration reforms still have no legal way to search for work or to get to work because of Johnson’s refusal to grant them driver’s licenses. President Obama’s executive action this summer grants certain younger undocumented immigrants work permits and temporary relief from prosecution under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
During the news conference, Attorney Susan Reed provided a legal perspective while Adonis Flores, an immigrant Wayne State University student and Jose Franco co-founder of One Michigan recounted the burden placed on them by Johnson’s roadblock to their legal right to drive.
“We are stuck in the shadows because of Secretary Johnson’s refusal to follow the federal mandate she said she wanted,” Jose Franco, co-founder of One Michigan.
“Johnson’s ignoring the federal guidance she said she needed to allow us to legally drive is a moral and ethical violation.” Secretary Johnson had said she needed “guidan” from federal authorities before she could grant driver’s licenses to DACA eligible youth. In fact, Michigan is one of only three other states including Arizona that makes such a claim. Even so, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and legal experts have made it clear that these young people have the legal right to drive.
Secretary Johnson declared in October that DACA reforms didn’t allow eligible immigrants the right to legally drive because she was unclear about their legal status. Federal authorities have removed any lack of clarity there may have been.