By: Megan Palera
The American Civil Liberties Union of Nebraska is suing Governor Dave Heineman and the Dept. of Motor Vehicles for denying driver's licenses to people who aren't U.S. citizens.
Maria Hernandez grew up in Nebraska, graduated from high school here and now works in Omaha. But she can't get a driver's license because in the eyes of the state, she's not here legally.
"It's just such a basic necessity and to get denied that is like, what have I done?" Hernandez said.
Hernandez is DREAMer, a young Hispanic who has been granted temporary work papers under the Obama Administrations program called the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The policy took effect in January of this year. But Nebraska and Arizona are the only two states that have chosen to deny driver's licenses to DACA recipients.
Now the Nebraska ACLU is suing the governor and the DMV on behalf of four Nebraska DREAMers.
"They're on the path to citizenship and they're contributing to the Nebraska economy and they want to make their lives here. The governor's policy of denying them driver's license is bad policy and we think it is illegal," Amy Miller, Legal Director for Nebraska ACLU said.
We reached out to the governor Tuesday. He's being represented by the attorney general's office which says it will defend the lawsuit.
The ACLU says it should be an easy win. The organization says they hope the state court will see the governor's position as a shameless attack on Nebraska's immigrant youth.
"Coming here wasn't my decision and yet to be denied this is kind of like, ok, awesome. Now I have to force my way around this," Hernandez said.
There are currently 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. Congress is currently working on an immigration reform bill that includes at 13-year path to citizenship.