State Weighs Repealing Driver Licenses of Ukrainian Immigrants

Driver Licenses REPEALED - State Takes Action!

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2016

One year after allowing Ukrainian immigrants on humanitarian parole to obtain driver’s licenses, lawmakers in Indiana are seeking to revoke the law in response to a federal judge’s decision declaring it prejudicial.

The contentious House Bill 1162, approved with backing from both sides of the aisle on Monday, February 5, aims to remove the clause permitting Ukrainians to obtain driver’s licenses under a particular federal parole category. This omission prompted a legal challenge from Haitian immigrants living in Indiana under the same classification, asserting that the legislation was unconstitutional and biased.

Nevertheless, in January, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order nullifying the provision benefiting Ukrainians and providing temporary licenses to all immigrants under humanitarian parole. Additionally, the Haitian plaintiffs in the ongoing lawsuit are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana (ACLU) and the National Immigration Law Center, with the goal of permanently eliminating the discriminatory condition.

Additionally, the approval of the bill amplifies worries about its implications for the lawsuit. Gavin Rose, a senior staff attorney at the ACLU of Indiana, voiced his concerns, expressing apprehension that if House Bill 1162 is enacted, it would be highly troubling to witness the legislature revoke Ukrainians’ access to driver’s licenses solely because Indiana was mandated to provide the same privilege to individuals from Haiti and other nations experiencing urgent humanitarian crises.

Republicans pushing for the repeal contend that granting the privilege to all parolees undermines state authority over immigration classifications determined by the federal government.

Representative Jim Pressel, the Republican sponsor of the bill, expressed his discontent with the outcome of the lawsuit, describing the situation as chaotic and questioning the federal parole definition that includes individuals from various countries. He stressed the importance of a Senate debate to uphold the initial purpose of last year’s legislation.

Representative Matt Lehman, the House Republican floor leader, raised alarms about possible security threats, asserting that granting licenses to all parolees might offer this sought-after status to unscrupulous individuals. He raised doubts about the credibility of the national immigration policy and its capacity to issue licenses to individuals flagged as problematic by the state.

Although there was no discussion, the bill sailed through the Republican-dominated House with a commanding 89-8 majority and is currently awaiting review by the state Senate.

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