The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the ACLU of Nebraska [advocacy websites] filed a lawsuit [complaint, PDF] Monday against Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman and the Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles [official websites] challenging the governor's decision to deny driver's licenses to young people who have been legally authorized to remain in the country by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) [USCIS info sheet] program. Under DACA, unauthorized immigrants between the ages of 16 and 31 who meet certain requirements are permitted to stay in the country legally for renewable two-year periods and to obtain work permits. The lawsuit filed on behalf [ACLU press release] of four immigrants who have benefited from DACA, alleges that this decision violates the Nebraska constitution. Only Nebraska and Arizona [Lincoln Journal Star report] have declined to allow illegal immigrants who qualify under DACA to receive driver's licenses, and Heineman's decision would block 1,400 illegal immigrants from obtaining licenses.
This lawsuit is the most recent of those filed by the ACLU on behalf of immigrants facing a variety of allegedly unconstitutional state immigration practices. Last week the ACLU filed a lawsuit [JURIST report] in Los Angeles federal court alleging that undocumented immigrants were being coerced by Border Patrol and immigration officials into signing their own deportation documents and forfeiting their right to a fair trial. In December the ACLU filed a lawsuit challenging an Arizona executive order [JURIST report] that prevented certain immigrants from obtaining driver's licenses. In November the ACLU filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of New Jersey immigrants [JURIST report] that challenged the state's mandatory detention procedures. Earlier in 2012 the ACLU reported that certain immigrant detention centers in Arizona and Georgia [JURIST reports] were unsanitary, failed to give inmates proper access to medical treatment and denied inmates due process.