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Should young illegal immigrants be able to obtain driver’s license?

Should beneficiaries from the Obama Deferred Action plan Childhood Arrivals be able to obtain driver’s licenses?

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson has said earlier this month that she would deny driver’s license and identification cards to illegal immigrants who would benefit from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

About 50 West Michigan residents plan to protest Johnson’s policy on Wednesday, Oct. 24, outside a Secretary of State branch office at Rogers Plaza in Wyoming. They believe immigrants covered under Obama’s plan — those who arrived before age 16 and who were not older than 31 as of June 15, 2012 — should have the opportunity to drive legally.

Attorney Robert Alvarez, who sides with the protesters, said that this is about common sense.

“USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is entitling them to work, saying they are not going to be deported, they are eligible for obtaining a Social Security number and go to school. If (the government) is giving them these privileges, why are they not considered legally present?” Alvarez questioned.”

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7 illegal immigrants deported to Middle East

Seven illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq who were discovered last year in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) waters were finally deported back to their home countries on Wednesday.

Immigration officials said the seven were heading to Asmore Reef, Australia seeking asylum when police arrested them in separate locations, including Rote Ndao.

Officials used Batavia Air airplanes at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Jakarta to return the seven immigrants to where they had come from after transporting them from El Tari Airport in Kupang in an airplane that departed at 10 a.m. local time (8 a.m. Jakarta time).

According to NTT immigration detention center head Nur El Islami as quoted bytempo.co, the immigrants themselves had made the deportation request.

Nur said that they were tired of being held up for a year without any clear understanding of their immigration status.

In addition to these seven immigrants, Nur said that the Immigration Office would relocate some 30 other illegal immigrants to other locations in Indonesia due to overcapacity, with 138 illegal immigrants currently detained in the province.

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Young illegal immigrants coming out of the shadows

It began several years ago, tentatively, almost furtively, with a few small rallies and a few provocative T-shirts. In the past two years it has grown into a full-fledged movement, emboldening thousands of young people, terrifying their parents, and unsettling authorities unsure of how to respond.

From California to New York, children of families who live here illegally are “coming out” — marching behind banners that say “undocumented and unafraid,” staging sit-ins in federal offices, and getting arrested outside federal immigration courts and detention centers, even in Maricopa County, Ariz., home of the sworn enemy of illegal immigrants, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

In “outing” their families as well as themselves, they know they risk being deported. But as states pass ever more stringent anti-illegal immigration laws — and critics denounce their parents as criminals — these young people say they have no choice. Even critics sympathetic to their cause say that it’s too costly to provide public services to non-citizens and that offering them a path to citizenship rewards their parents’ lawbreaking.

Still, more and more young people are asserting their right to stay.

“Coming out was like a weight was lifted,” says Angy Rivera, a 21-year-old New Yorker, who was born in Colombia and came here with her mother when she was 3. “I wasn’t lying about my life anymore.”

Growing up in Queens, Rivera’s mother told her to trust no one, to stay away from people in authority, to never mention her immigration status. But it wasn’t until Rivera started looking for jobs and applying to college that she fully understood how different she was. She couldn’t work without a Social Security number. And, as a non-citizen, she wasn’t eligible for financial aid, despite top grades.

She would look at her three younger siblings — all citizens because they were born here — and weep. Unlike her, they didn’t have to worry about college, jobs, driving, traveling, planning a future.

Rivera is active in the New York State Youth Leadership Council, which offers training sessions on “coming out,” lobbies lawmakers in Albany, and has an impressive website packed with information and practical advice. It is one of many such organizations that have sprung up across the country, focused on helping youth, fighting deportations, and educating the public about the kind of stateless limbo in which they feel trapped.

Recently they have begun escalating their protests, testing the Obama administration’s professed new policy of “prosecutorial discretion,” designed to focus on the deportation of known criminals, not students or immigrants with no criminal record.

“When we challenge the system, the system doesn’t know what to do with us,” says Mohammad Abdollahi, a member of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance. Abdollahi, 26, who came from Iran at the age of 3 and grew up in Ann Arbor, Mich., has a powerful personal story. As a gay man, he cannot return to a country where homosexuality is a crime punishable by imprisonment or even death — a fact he says he uses to good effect whenever he is threatened with deportation.

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