DAYS after the new immigration action plan by the United States (U.S.) President Barack Obama, which could make as many as 1.7 million illegal immigrants, including Nigerians, eligible for “deferred action” status took effect, Nebraska has joined the state of Arizona in opposing such legal status for immigrants who are newly-documented under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme.
The move has set up a constitutional battle while raising tough questions about the programme.
Two days after Arizona’s Governor Jan Brewer declared that her state would not confer driver’s licences and other state benefits to newly-documented immigrants under Obama’s “deferred action” immigration policy, Nebraska, too, has slammed the plan.
Echoing Governor Brewer, Nebraska’s Republican Governor Dave Heineman, at the weekend said that Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme did not make successful applicants “legal citizens,” meaning they remain ineligible for state benefits like driver’s licences and other services.
The deferred action plan took effect from Wednesday last week. The plan means that successful applicants are eligible to receive work papers and driver’s licences.
Such applicants have to be no more than 31 years old, must have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, and have no major crimes record.
The opposition stances taken by Nebraska and Arizona seem to at least partially challenged federal law, specifically the 2005 Real ID Act, which lists “deferred action” recipients as being eligible for driver’s licences.
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