In the Driver's Seat

Michigan Immigrants Celebrate New License Policy


There is good news this year for undocumented immigrant drivers in Michigan. Secretary of State Ruth Johnson directed branch offices to begin issuing driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.  This shift in policy reflects enactment of the new federal DACA Program.  DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, gives temporary legal status to this group of immigrants.


Michigan is home to approximately 15,000 youth who may qualify for the program and, until recently, was among a small handful of states with a set policy prohibiting DACA recipients from receiving driver's licenses or identification cards.

Now, DACA recipients will be eligible for new limited-term driver's licenses and identification cards.  These temporary IDs include a special DACA identifier but expire within a limited time period.  Hopefully, our national Congress will soon enact comprehensive immigration reform and make such stopgap policies unnecessary.

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Alan Headbloom

Alan advises Americans how to be global citizens and expats how to fit in to Michigan culture without annoying their native coworkers and clients. He also tweets and blogs at the intersection of language and culture. Over decades, he's traveled, studied, or lived on six continents, putting strange foods into his mouth and emitting strange sounds from it. His use of English, German, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Swedish, Hausa, and Japanese all improve with alcohol use. He gives invited public presentations on culture and unsolicited private advice on English grammar and usage; the latter isn't always appreciated. Visit his website for information on consulting, coaching, or speaking engagements.