Trump Administration signals that a DUI will cause DACA protective status to be removed

From NBC News (story by Tim Stelloh):

Federal authorities targeted a so-called “DREAMer” in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend because of a driving under the influence charge from December, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told NBC News on Monday.

Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez, 25, was released on unspecified bond from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, on Monday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties of Oregon said.

Federal authorities targeted a so-called “DREAMer” in Portland, Oregon, over the weekend because of a driving under the influence charge from December, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman told NBC News on Monday.

Francisco Rodriguez Dominguez, 25, was released on unspecified bond from the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Washington, on Monday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties of Oregon said.

Francisco Rodriguez DominguezACLU of Oregon

Rodriguez Dominguez is one of a handful of detainees who enrolled in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly known as DACA, and have been detained under President Donald Trump’s administration.

The program, authorized in 2012, allowed undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children to gain temporary protection from deportation. DACA built upon proposals in the failed DREAM (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) Act of 2001.

Mat dos Santos, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon, told NBC News that the DUI charge was a misdemeanor, and that Rodriguez Dominguez entered a diversion program and was in the process of completing the program’s requirements when he was detained.

“If they allowed him to complete the program, he wouldn’t have a criminal record at all,” dos Santos said.

Rodriguez Dominguez was brought to the United States from Mexico when he was 5 and has been enrolled in DACA since 2013, the group said in a statement.

That status, which program recipients must renew every two years, is likely current until August, dos Santos told NBC News.

On Sunday morning, dos Santos said, several immigration agents arrived at his family’s home in Portland.

“He went downstairs to tell them he was a DACA recipient,” Dos Santos said. “They said, ‘It doesn’t matter.'”

The Department of Homeland Security has previously said that DACA recipients can lose their protection if they’re found to pose a national security or public safety threat.

The ICE spokeswoman, Rose Richeson, told NBC News that the agency considered driving under the influence to be among the latter.

Dos Santos pointed out that Rodriguez Dominguez was a church volunteer who, through a community advocacy group, helps distribute food to poor families at a local middle school. He described the DUI as a mistake that Rodriguez is being unjustly punished for.

“This is a person who is an upstanding member of our community,” he said. “He was well on his way to making up for his mistake.”

Read the whole story here:  http://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/immigration-authorities-target-oregon-dreamer-over-dui-n739271

Proposed rules for drivers licenses for undocumented persons announced

The Secretary of State has proposed rules for “temporary visitor drivers licenses” (TVDL).  They seem very cumbersome and I don’t know if many people will be able or willing to go through all this for a license.

From The Flinn Report:

The SECRETARY OF STATE proposed amendments to “Issuance of Licenses” (92 Ill. Adm. Code 1030; 37 Ill Reg 13339) implementing Public Act 97-1157 that provides for temporary visitor driver’s licenses (TVDL) and in-struction permits to be issued to un-documented immigrants…To apply for a TVDL, an un-documented immigrant must make an appointment at a designated SOS facility and present a valid passport or unexpired consular identification document from his or her country of origin (rather than the U.S.-government-issued photo identification required of legal immigrants). Applicants also must submit acceptable documents verifying their written signature, name and date of birth, current Illinois residence address, and Illinois residency of more than 1 year. Examples of acceptable and unacceptable documents are listed. A verification of residency for and a letter from the Social Security Administration verifying the applicant’s ineligibility for a Social Security number are also required. All TVDLs must include the license holder’s picture and will be mailed to the applicant directly from SOS instead of being issued at driver’s services facilities.  Applicants for TVDLs or temporary visitor’s instruction permits are subject to the same testing requirements as other driver’s license or permit applicants. Unmarried applicants underage 18 are subject to general requirements for parental consent, instructional permits and behind-the-wheel instruction prior to receiving a license.  Male TVDL applicants ages 18-25 are not exempt from the general requirement of registration with the Selective Service system. TVDLs expire 3 years from the date of issuance (sooner for applicants age 81 and older) and are not renewable; upon expiration, TVDL holders must reapply for new licenses and submit all necessary documents again. Those affected by this rulemaking include undocumented immigrants seeking driver’s licenses
and businesses who employ them in duties that involve driving.
Questions/requests for copies/comments through 9/30/13: Brenda Glahn, SOS, 298 Howlett Building, Springfield
IL 62756, e-mail:TVDLrules@ilsos.net
Thanks to Springfield attorney Theodore Harvatin for providing this link.

Governor Quinn signs law allowing undocumented persons to get driver’s licenses

Well, to use the Vice President’s expression, this is a BFD.

In my almost 20 years of practice, I have seen some major changes to Illinois traffic laws, such as making it a crime (instead of a traffic offense) to drive without insurance, without a license, or speed more than 25 miles over the limit (coming this summer to a highway near you!); lowering the “legal limit” for DUIs, and eliminating multiple supervisions for DUIs.  But allowing undocumented persons to get a driver’s license is definitely the biggest.

And I had not heard one word about this being discussed until after the days after the November presidential election, when the consensus opinion of the chattering classes became that Republicans lost in large part because they were losing immigrant voters, particularly Hispanics.  Immediately after that, Illinois Republicans joined Democrats to pass this bill, and now it is law.

According to the Chicago Tribune:

Called temporary visitor driver’s licenses, the permits will vary from traditional licenses several ways. Most noticeably, they will be visually different, with a blue background as opposed to [a] red one.

The cards will be marked “not valid for identification” and cannot be used for things like boarding airplanes, voting or purchasing a gun. The licenses will only be valid for three years instead of four years, like traditional licenses. After three years, the individual would have to go through the process again.

To qualify for a license, an applicant must prove they have lived in Illinois for a least a year and show that they are ineligible for a Social Security card. Documents that will be accepted include a copy of a lease, utility bills and a valid passport or consular identification card.

Drivers must also pass vision, written and road tests and pay a $30 fee. In order for the license to remain valid, a driver also will be required to get insurance. If a person with a temporary visitor’s license is caught driving without insurance, they will be ticketed for both driving without insurance as well as driving without a license.

People who want to apply for the licenses must first make an appointment at one of eight designated facilities across the state. Licenses will not be issued on the spot but only after the state can verify application information and perform a facial recognition search against other databases.

The permits will not be available for 10 months, which was requested by Secretary of State Jesse White in order to have adequate time to prepare for implementation of the new law.

Drivers licenses for undocumented immigrants may be coming to Illinois

In the past week, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, over two dozen Chicago aldermen, and Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran all came out in favor of allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.

Update:  after I put up this blog post, the Sun-Times now reports that “In a nearly unprecedented show of support, Gov. Pat Quinn, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), former GOP Gov. Jim Edgar, GOP state comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and state Rep. Edward Acevedo (D-Chicago) plan to sign on to the immigrant-rights driving initiative and attend Tuesday’s news conference in support of it.”

Then today I heard from a downstate attorney that the Secretary of State is working on a rule change that would allow undocumented immigrants just that.

This would be a major change to the current situation.  As a traffic attorney, I regularly see crowded courtrooms full of people who have been charged with driving without a license or driving while suspended (suspended because of previous instances of driving without a license), all because they live and work here without proper legal documents and cannot obtain a license.  Even worse, if a person gets a DUI while “undocumented” and thus doesn’t possess a valid driver’s license, he or she is facing a felony instead of a misdemeanor.

In addition, a person who does not have a valid driver’s license cannot obtain liability insurance.  This means that anyone who is injured by an undocumented driver will have difficulty obtaining compensation.

According to one news report:  “Illinois is home to an estimated 250,000 immigrant motorists who can’t get licensed because they lack Social Security numbers, according to the coalition, which states that unlicensed and uninsured drivers are involved in 79,600 accidents in Illinois each year at a cost of $660 million in damage claims.”

According to the Sun-Times:

The state legislation they’re pushing would offer what Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) called “economic empowerment” to undocumented immigrants by requiring all Illinois drivers to be trained, tested, licensed and insured.

That includes undocumented immigrants. They would no longer have to fear being pulled over for driving without a license and getting dragged into the deportation dragnet that has deprived more than 56,000 Illinois children one or both parents.

“This is really, what we call a ‘triple bottom line issue.’ It’s a justice issue. It’s a safety issue. And it’s an economic issue,” Moreno said.

“We’ve got thousands of our fellow citizens driving on the streets, going to work, taking their kids to school that don’t have the proper licensing.”

If there was a time for this change, now seems to be the time, as all the pundits are busy pontificating about the growing importance of Hispanic voters.  This is making some legislators soften their previous anti-“illegal immigrant” stance.  If so, it will greatly reduce the costs and strain on the courts and police departments, although it will also reduce the revenue streams that arise from impoundments, forfeitures and fines.

It will also be interesting to see whether undocumented people will be able to overcome their inclination to avoid government officials and show up at a Secretary of State office to provide information including their name, date of birth and home address in order to get a driver’s license.

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