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DREAMers in Connecticut Will Get Driver's Licenses

Jacek Bilski/Getty Images(NEW HAVEN, Conn.) -- DREAMers awarded deferred action will be eligible for driver's licenses in Connecticut.

As the New Haven Register reported, the news that young undocumented immigrants granted the two-year deportation reprieves will be able to get licenses came at a Sunday rally attended by immigrants and clergy, and was later confirmed by Governor Dannel Malloy's office.

The clergy group, Congregations Organized for a New Connecticut, has pushed not only for licenses for DREAMers, but for all residents of the state, regardless of immigration status.

"If someone comes in with the new federal document, they will receive an 'unverified' license," Michael Lawlor, the undersecretary of criminal justice for the governor, told the paper.

An "unverified license" is one that may not be used for federal identification. Connecticut began issuing two types of licenses in 2011 -- a "Real ID" for people who can provide proof of residency and immigration status, and an "unverified license" stamped "not for federal identification" for those who choose not to or cannot provide that information.

According to Lawlor, the licenses given to deferred action recipients will work for driving, but they may not be sufficient for federal purposes, such as clearing security at an airport.

The Obama administration made it clear that it would be up to each state to determine whether to award driver's licenses to those granted deferred action. Some states, including Florida and California, have said they will issue the licenses. But deferred action does not confer legal status upon a person, which has led other states, such as Arizona and Iowa, to deem recipients ineligible for licenses.

Those decisions have drawn legal challenges from immigrants' rights organizations.

The National Immigration Law Center and the American Civil Liberties Union filed a suit against Republican Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson last month for blocking licenses for DREAMers.

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