Michigan to Allow Driver’s Licenses for DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) Participants

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has decided to allow the issuance of Michigan Driver’s licenses and State IDs for DACA participants, beginning on February 19, 2013.  Previously, Michigan was among a small number of States to resist allowing this to occur.  Ruth Johnson, a Republican, changed her mind recently after the Obama administration clarified its legal position.

In order to meet the eligibility requirements for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) all of the following must apply to the individual:
1. Must have entered the United States prior to his or her 16th birthday;
2. Must be from 15 years old to 30 years old;
3. Must have been present in the United States for at least 5 years as of June 15, 2012;
4. Must have maintained a continuous residence;
5. Must have mostly avoided a criminal history – absolutely no felony convictions, no significant misdemeanor offenses, no multiple minor misdemeanor convictions (three or more convictions on different dates). A significant misdemeanor is a federal, state law, or local ordinance violation which is punishable by no more than 1 year in jail. Other crimes that constitute a significant misdemeanor offense include: assaults, threats, violent offenses, domestic violence, sex offenses involving abuse or exploitation, burglary, larceny, fraud, drinking and driving, driving under the influence of drugs, obstruction of justice, bribery, resisting arrest, resisting and obstructing a police officer, fleeing the scene of an accident, unlawful possession of drugs, possession with intent to distribute drugs, use of a firearm, unlawful possession of a firearm.
6. Must undergo biometric and biographic background checks prior to receiving this status. This is to verify the lack of the aforementioned criminal history, and to make sure the person does not pose a national security or public safety risk. The aforementioned criminal history, national security, or public safety risk will lead to a denial of the petition.
7. Must be in school, a high school graduate, have a GED, or is honorably discharged from the military, National Guard, or Coast Guard.
DACA is a status that a nonresident alien must apply for.  Simply meeting these requirements, without having an application approved, will not allow the nonresident alien to obtain a Michigan driver’s license.  Another advantage of DACA is that it provides the nonresident alien with the opportunity to obtain work authorization.  Hilf & Hilf, PLC can help you obtain DACA, work authorization, and a Michigan driver’s license if you are otherwise eligible.
Nonresident aliens   who are ineligible for Michigan driver’s licenses due to drunk driving convictions, driving while license suspended convictions, or for other violations of the Michigan motor vehicle code will not become eligible for a Michigan driver’s license. However, those nonresident aliens under DACA would have the ability to obtain State IDs and employment authorization.  Also, these nonresident alients under DACA would also have the ability, when eligible, to petition the Secretary of State/ Driver’s License Appellate Division (DLAD) for restoration of driver’s license privileges.
Hilf & Hilf, PLC handles issues concerning the issuance of Michigan driver’s licenses for individuals who are ineligible due to traffic related convictions, offenses, and suspensions.
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