December 19, 2014
For Immediate Release
Lincoln, NE- Today the United States District Court of Nebraska issued a ruling rejecting the state of Nebraska's attempt to remove a lawsuit on behalf of DREAMers against Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman from state to federal court. The State of Nebraska removed the case to federal court after multiple hearings had already taken place and with trial scheduled in state court only a month away.
The case will be remanded back to state court where it was originally filed and proceed according to the discretion of the trial court.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska and the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project filed a lawsuit in June 2013 in state court against Governor Dave Heineman and the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles (“DMV”). The lawsuit, Hernandez v. Heineman, challenges a decision by the Governor and the DMV to deny driver's licenses to young people who have been authorized to remain lawfully in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed in January 2013 that individuals granted deferred action under DACA are authorized by the Department of Homeland Security to be in the U.S. and are therefore considered to be lawfully present. The suit is brought on behalf of four named plaintiffs, all DACA recipients who were brought to the U.S. as children, have grown up in Nebraska, graduated from local high schools and are currently authorized to work in the country.
Currently, Nebraska is the only state in the country that is denying driver's licenses to DACA recipients. Arizona also denied drivers’ licenses to DACA recipients but, after a successful challenge, Arizona has been ordered by a federal court to start issuing licenses to DACA recipients starting December 22, 2014. Arizona has indicated it will continue to defend its policies.
The following statement can be attributed to Danielle Conrad, Executive Director
This is an important procedural victory that will ensure the case can move forward without additional delay. The state's policy to discriminate against lawfully present young people is unacceptable. Nebraska is now the last state in the country that denies drivers’ licenses to DACA recipients. It is time to move forward, to honor the intent of the Nebraska legislature, and ensure that all who are lawfully present in our state have the ability to travel to work and to school. Securing drivers’ licenses is important to ensuring these young people can more fully contribute to our communities and to our economy. Ensuring access to drivers’ licenses helps to keep our roadways safe for all Nebraskans.
ABOUT: The ACLU of Nebraska and its diverse membership works in courts, the legislature and our communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States and Nebraska guarantee everyone in this state.