State senators have begun, but have yet to complete debate, on a bill that would allow the children of illegal immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses in Nebraska.
Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha sponsors the bill that would allow youth without legal status in the United States to obtain driver’s licenses.
“In Nebraska, we all know it can be hard or nearly impossible to get to work without a car,” Nordquist told colleagues during legislative floor debate Wednesday. “Why would we want to limit their ability to work and to contribute to our state’s economy?”
Nebraska is the last holdout in refusing to allow youth brought to this country illegally by their parents to obtain a state driver’s license.
Opponents to Legislative Bill 623 have mounted a filibuster against it. Debate shifted to other priorities late Wednesday, forcing supporters to look to mid-morning Thursday to ask for a vote to cut off debate and force a vote. They will need 33 votes to end the filibuster.
Sen. Lydia Brasch of Bancroft said she has sympathy for the young people who have testified at various hearings at the Capitol.
“And we are a nation of immigrants and will continue to be so, but I also believe that we are a nation of law,” Brasch stated.
Often called DREAMers in reference to the DREAM Act, an immigration reform bill which has failed to pass Congress, the youth officially are known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by the federal government. President Barack Obama in 2012 issued an executive order shielding DACA youth from deportation.