Deferred Action and Drivers Licenses - It Depends on Your State
One of the questions our clients are asking about the new Obama deferred action immigration policy for young undocumented immigrants, students, and members of the military and veterans (known as DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) to keep them from being deported is whether an approved application for deferred action will allow the undocumented immigrant being able to get a driver's license. This is a mixed question of federal immigration law and the law of the State in which the immigrant lives. This article is only intended for immigrants who live in the State of Missouri, since our law firm is an immigration lawyer firm in St. Louis, Missouri for deferred action cases.
In Missouri, the Department of Revenue Says YES!
The Missouri Department of Revenue has published a list of immigration and ID documentation needed to get a Missouri Driver's License. On the list is proof of deferred action status. This would presumably include an application for deferred action which has been granted under the new Obama administration policy for deferred action of deportation against young immigrants. Accordingly, a granted application for deferred action should qualify that person to get a driver's license in the State of Missouri, as long as that person also provides his or her Employment Authorization Document (which should be applied for at the time of filing the Application for Deferred Action), and passport. This is because the list of documents the Missouri Department of Revenue publishes specifies individuals who have been granted deferred action by the USCIS as being eligible to get a Missouri driver's license.
But Time Will Tell . . .
While this should be encouraging news to young immigrants living in Missouri asking themselves "Can I get a Missouri Driver's License if I get deferred action under the Obama law?", it is worth noting, however, that the Missouri Department of Revenue's list of immigration documents needed to get a Missouri Driver's License is from September 7, 2005, which is 7 years before the implementation of the new Obama deferred action immigration policy which became effective on August 15, 2012. Deferred action existed prior to the implementation of the new Obama immigration policy, but the list of documents does not specifically refer to the new Obama deferred action immigration policy since the Department of Revenue list predates the deferred action policy of the Obama Administration. Nonetheless, is still refers to deferred action status as creating eligibility for a Missouri Driver's License. Because the new Obama deferred action policy is so new, however, until so