MLK Day DREAMers driver’s license rallies in Iowa

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On Monday, January 21 (appropriately, Martin Luther King Day) Iowa DREAMers and advocacy groups will assemble to speak out about the Iowa Department of Transportation’s recent announcement that it will deny drivers’licenses to young Iowans who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, popularly referred to as DREAMers.

The American Friends Service Committee, its DREAMers Network, the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa, and other advocacy groups believe this decision is irrational, unfair, and inconsistent with Iowa law. After an extensive background check and meeting stringent criteria, these young people, who were brought to the U.S. as children, have now been granted deferred action status that allows them to be legally present and gives work authorization documents. But they need drivers’ licenses to work, to go to school, and to carry out the basic tasks of daily living. Giving them the drivers’ licenses they deserve is also good policy, because licensing promotes education about safe driving, and allows for DREAMers to purchase car insurance.

The Des Moines event will take place at the Iowa DOT Driver’s License Station at 2339 Euclid Avenue (also known as River Place) from noon to 1:00.

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A similar event will be held by The Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown at 6:00 p.m. at the Marshalltown Public Library (105 W. Boone Street) in Marshalltown, in the public meeting room. Contact information for those organizers is available through ACLU of Iowa Communications Director Veronica Fowler (see below.)

Other events are currently being planned for Iowa City and Waterloo.

The Iowa DREAMers Network is a project supported by the American Friends Service Committee Immigrants Voice Program that includes DREAMers and their allies, working together to support, advocate, and raise awareness of issues that prevent DREAMers from realizing their potential and becoming fully engaged contributors to their communities.

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A petition will be publicly presented, asking Governor Terry Branstad and DOT Director Paul Trombino to correctly interpret federal law and issue drivers’ licenses to DREAMers.

To see and sign the petition, go to:

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http://signon.org/sign/iowa-dot-director-paul?source=s.em.mt&r_by=6829157

For background on the Iowa DOT denying DREAMer’s drivers’ licenses and related advocacy efforts, go to:

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http://www.aclu-ia.org/2012/12/30/a-bad-call-denying-legal-young-immigrants-drivers-licenses

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